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Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta



Baby, it's cold outside - the high for today is supposed to be 16 degrees! Here is a hearty soup to get you through the winter. This soup, along with a green salad and some nice bread, is a great dinner for a chilly night.  This soup is loaded with sausage, beans and ditalini pasta.  It's really a pretty traditional "Pasta e Fagioli" soup, but with sausage. I've made the soup with turkey sausage, but you can use any sausage you like.  

I've used dried beans to make the soup.  You can certainly use canned, but if you've never cooked with dried beans, you should try it.  Some people are confused about dried beans and don't know how to soak them and cook them.  But there really is no mystery to it at all - it's very easy.  Soaking simply softens the beans so that they have a shorter cooking time.  That's all.  And you don't really even have to soak them.  If you forget to soak them, simply cook them longer.  I just throw the beans in a pot and cover them with water and let them soak all day. I drain them, add fresh water and then cook them until they are tender. That's it. And I get my beans from Steve Sando at Rancho Gordo.  He produces the best dried beans on the market today.  If you are interested in cooking more with beans, check out the great cookbook he wrote last year, Heirloom Beans, filled with terrific recipes using beans and lots of tips on how to cook with beans.

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta 

serves 6 or more

* My favorite variation:  For a creamier soup, puree about 3/4 of the beans before you add the cooked sausage back into the pot.  Just add 3/4 of the beans into the pot, after you have sauteed the vegetables.  Stick an immersion blender into the pot and puree the soup for just about 30 seconds.  Then add the rest of the beans and the sausage and continue the recipe.  It makes the soup thick and creamy.

for a printable recipe, click here


  • 1 cup dried cannellini or cellini beans or 1 15-ounce can of any beans you like, drained
  • 1 pound ground sausage, turkey or pork
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 medium carrot, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes 
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta, or any small pasta
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 


If using dried beans, place them in a pot, cover with cold water and let soak for several hours or overnight. Drain. Cover with fresh water and simmer gently, covered,  til just soft, about an hour.  Drain again.

In a large pot, brown the sausage.  Remove from pot.  If there is a lot of fat left in the pot, pour this out but do not wipe out pot.  Add onion, carrot and olive oil and saute for 5 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and saute about a minute more.  Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, some salt and pepper, the drained beans (*this is the point to puree the soup if you want to) and the sausage and cover the pot. Cook for about 30 to 45 minutes over low heat, at a gentle simmer.

If using dried beans, check for doneness at this point.  (If using canned beans, add the pasta now.)  If the beans are not soft enough, cover the pot again and cook for another 15 - 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender.  Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.  If the soup is too thick for your liking, you can add more chicken broth.

Serve with grated cheese on top and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Variation:  You can add a couple of handfuls of fresh chopped greens like spinach, chard, etc. for the last 15 or 20 minutes of cooking time if you like.

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Reader Comments (112)

From The italian Dish:

Aadams: Of course you can cook it in the crock pot - but I would brown my meat first in a pan, for a richer flavor and then add it in. Used canned beans.

November 20, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I make a version of this but add pepper flakes or ground Cayenne Pepper at the beginning OR use the hot Italian sausage and then add a handful of fresh basil towards the end. Sometimes I'll throw in some kidney beans along with the white beans just to add more color. I've also recently discovered the beauty that is using kale in soups. Don't be afraid to add a little of that into your broth-based soups. Cheap & adds extra vitamins! Have tried it with chicken as well - wonderful - and have even added a fresh turnip or two on occasion. So many things to to try in this recipe!

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin P

Do you use breakfast sausage???

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeri

I made this soup today with jimmy dean hot sausage and substituted black beans since I was trying to use what was on hand. I used a bow tie pasta, which is about the largest I would go. It is absolutely amazing and easy to make. Perfect for a chilly day watching football! I will make it again with the white beans in the future for contrasting the taste. Enjoy...

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I made this soup today. Much better flavor than any Minnestrone I have made. I added spinach at the end. Delicious!!

December 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary Jo

From reading the reviews I feel like I must have missed something. My soup came out dreadfully flavorless. I buy all my ingredients from whole foods, used spicy Italian sausage, soaked/prepared my own beans, used extra onion and garlic, and added in some oregano. Suggestions?

December 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJolene

Loved this recipe! I also added spinach and an extra can of tomatoes. I used Italian turkey sausage (hot). Can't wait to make it again!

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJill

I'm making this soup for the second time now, delicious! Thanks for the great recipe

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarlaP

Made this soup today and it is YUMMY!! I used spicy Italian sausage and it works really well in this perfectly written recipe. Very simple to make and follow! Thank you :)

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarla

I made this tonight and it is husband approved! I followed the recipe exactly and I thought the flavor was great, but you can easily adjust it for more flavor if you prefer.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrayce

Fixed this today.....very tasty. I am sensitive to onions and garlic so did not add those, otherwise fixed it as it is written using sweet italian sausage. Did not miss the onions/garlic, my husband said it is very good, he likes the Olive Garden pasta fagioli (not sure correct spelling), but he said this is a keeper. Thanks

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdele Griffin

I made this soup and it was amazing. The only thing I did different was to add the rind from some parmesan cheese I had. I just popped it into the pot and let it cook along with the soup. Amazing!! My husband said I can make this soup anytime!!! It really is fabulous! Thanks for a great recipe!!

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoanieGirl

This is a delicious meal! Great reheated too!

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

This soup was absolutely FANTASTIC! We added Kale and a healthy topping of freshly grated parmesan. Thank you!!

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

At what point do you add the other 2 cups of broth?

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

From The Italian Dish:

Pam: At the end of the recipe, it says if the soup is too thick you can add more chicken broth. That is why I give a 6 to 8 cup allowance, just in case you like the soup less thick. Hope this helps.

February 6, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Just found this recipe via Pinterest. Made it tonight and it was a huge hit with my husband, my son (age 9) and his friend (age 10). I added a 1/2 cup more pasta than the recipe called for and I added 5 oz. of fresh spinach at the end. Also, I didn't read the recipe very carefully, so instead of simmering slowly for 1 hour, I simmered on med-hi for 30 minutes. It was still fantastic! I'll definitely be making this again and checking out your other recipes.

February 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeili

I made this for lunch today and it's DELICIOUS!! So easy too! I added an extra can of beans and an extra can of broth. I also added about 6 oz of spinach at the very end and let it wilt in. It will feed us for a lunch and a dinner with a few single-serve portions left for me to take to work.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer R.

I made it with mild Italian pork sausage. Turned out delicious!!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie R.

This recipe is so delicious! I use hot Italian turkey sausage in the recipe to make it a little healthier. Other than that, I follow it to a "T". So, so good!

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Wow!!! I made this tonight because it's so cold and windy today - thought it was a good day for something like this - used a combination of hot and sweet Italian sausage and everyone loved it! Served with crusty bread.... :) Definitely a keeper DH said :)

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Esposito

I just made this recipe, but I had to improvise because I thought we had more chicken broth then we did:( I used 4 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of beef actually turned out really yummy... I found this recipe on Pinterest, and quickly started following all of your food boards because it all looks delicious! Thank you!

March 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Turned out aweful! I used kidney beans and a different small noodle. Added more carrots and used basil instead of thyme. Will definitely not be making again. Sorry.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterashlie

I just made this tonight and LOVED it! My three year old and 10 month old gobbled it up as well...THANK YOU for the wonderful recipe!!

April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarissa

This is literally the only meal I make that all the leftovers get eaten. It is so hearty and delicious. My husband also won't usually eat "just soup" for dinner, unless it is this soup! I also add a few cups of kale at the last 15 minutes.

May 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

I make this soup all the time. I use chicken sausage hot Italian style and it comes out absolutely delicious!

July 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

This soup is AMAZING and very simple! I just made it for the second time tonight... I have a cold and I prefer this over chicken noodle any time! Very comforting!

August 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBLawhon

This recipe looks great!

So, you puree 3/4 of the beans after you soak them but before you cook them?

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara C.

From The Italian Dish:

Barbara: Thank you for catching that - I had a little mistake in the recipe but I fixed it. If using dried beans and you wish to puree some of them for the soup, you will have to simmer them before they are added to the soup so they are soft. You put the soup together, put 3/4 of the beans in the pot and puree them a little before adding the sausage in. Hope this helps!

September 1, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I make something like this all the time. Love your version, I tried it today for lunch at work this week, I usually always add other veggies like kale summer squash or whatever is growing in the garden.
Thanks for the wonderful site.

September 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Hi This was great!! Looking for more bean soup recipes, especially with some meat added. I will keep checking back. Thank you for sharing it with me.

September 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDianna

I love this recipe and have made it a few times before. It's amazing! Anyway I will be adapting this recipe for a crockpot for a Halloween potluck at work. I will brown the sausage and sauté the onion and carrots etc. before transferring to a crock pot, but I'm wondering when the best time to add the pasta would be? I want it to cook through and also not get too mushy. Anyone have any tips?


October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany

I help make 45 quarts of this soup twice a year at my church. We sell it after services for donations for our local charity work, Backpacks for Children, a project to send food home for the weekend for needy kids as identified by local schools. The soup is also taken to the sick and home-bound members of the church by our pastor and lay people. THIS IS OUR MOST REQUESTED SOUP, that is why we make it twice. We make soups the last Friday of each month and have developed fine friendships doing it.

October 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary Vaughn

From The Italian Dish:

Brittany: I would definitely try adding the pasta later on in the cooking time, if you can. It won't take all that long to cook at the end - just turn the crockpot up to high for a little while.

Mary: Wow! That is amazing. Thanks for sharing. Loved to read that.

October 15, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I made this in the crock pot on low this morning with one can navy beans, one can kidney beans and added 1/2 bag fresh chopped spinach and only about 1/3 cup of pasta at the end of cooking and my family loved it! This is a very hearty soup. I added 1/2 bag of quartered turkey meatballs instead of the sausage and it had great taste.

I will definitely make this again.

October 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I'm making this now using dried beans. Maybe I missed it, but I wanted to make sure your readers know that the beans must be fully cooked before adding to any broth that contains tomatoes. There is something in tomatoes that stops beans from cooking! I learned this the hard way (pun intended) many, many years ago! Can't wait to try it!

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy

We just made this tonight and it was FANTASTIC! I thought I had thyme but didn't so I substituted italian seasoning and it was great! I only used 6 cups of broth and it was great but I think next time, I'll try 8 cups with some extra bean puree (more than one can) and see how that goes. This definitely will go into our "tried and true" recipes folder!

October 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaime

Wow! I made your soup exactly as posted (using a 15 oz can of cannelini beans and sweet italian sausage) and it is definitely a keeper. I can't believe how flavorful this is (given how easy it was to put together)! Now to make a crust loaf of french bread and throw a salad together for a perfect December meal! Oh and I only used 6 cups of broth and the consistency was perfect without mooshing up any of the beans. Thank you!

December 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelody

We make this at my church every other last Friday of the month for our "Soup Ministry". This soup is given to members who are in need or goes with the pastor when he visits those who are ill or home-bound. We make 90 quarts at a time and put in margarine style clear containers and freeze the containers until needed. Like other commentators we change it a little each time, but not much. It is our most requested soup. We alternate this with Chicken and Rice Soup with veggies. That what they like so that is what we make! The fellowship among us soup-cooks is worth all the stirring, chopping, can opening,etc. Besides we feel we are spreading "soup-joy" to anyone we know is in need.

December 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary Vaughn

From The Italian Dish:

Mary: Thanks for sharing. You made my day! That is so awesome. What a lot of hard work you do for your Soup Ministry. It's a great idea!

December 2, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Just made a pot, added chopped zucchini! Awesome!

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMEG

We made this tonight. We didn't change anything except for the amount of pasta (1 1/2 cups), onion (medium-large) and extra carrots (2 medium). Used Great Northern beans (2 cans). The recipe doesn't state when to add the pasta so we added it along with the tomatoes, broth and beans. It was a big hit. We used mild Italian sausage. Served it with some hot crusty multi-grain French bread. The extra ingredients made more stew like rather than a soup. Was a nice hearty meal. We LOVE THIS, it was a big hit with the whole family. I will be making it again and I'm sure many more times since it's in my favorites book now. Thanks so much for such a delicious recipe!

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKilyena

Made this tonight and it was AMAZING! My husband looooves it! Thanks for sharing the recipe! ♥

January 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterReannon Pino

I made this tonight. It was a hit! I used hot italian turkey sausage. Delicious!

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGiGi

Sounds GREAT however I would definitely use at least 3-4 different types of beans (as in chile)! They are so so good for you and would really add to this soup!

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered

This my favorite soup I have made so far. Thanks for the great recipe!

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I added celery, zucchini and finely chopped mushrooms to up the veg count. Very tasty. Thanx for sharing.

March 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSooUu

Great recipe! I've made this 4 times already and it is my new favorite soup recipe!

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany G.

I love pasta e fagioli soup but wanted to know whether one could use luganega Italian sausage or would it be too strong? Ingrid from South Africa.

May 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid Wilson

I have made this several times and it is amazing. I entered in to a soup contest at work and it came in 1st place!! It is beyond delicious and super easy to make.

September 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCgreel

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