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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)

I've made this several times now, and today, I just made a triple batch to freeze. I followed the recipe with the exception of adding the pasta, I didn't think that would freeze well. We'll add the pasta in when we thaw and reheat. Sooo excited about having a large supply of this to get us through Chicago winters!!!!

October 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlina

I have made this numerous times, all I have to say is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!!

January 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

This is an excellent soup. I've been making it for several years now and it's a family favorite! It's even my go-to recipe when someone is ill or new baby in the family. I usually make the pasta on it's own & add into the soup just before serving or before I bring it to a friend or family member. Otherwise, I find the pasta can get too mushy. And I usually triple this recipe. It freezes well (minus the pasta) and I also add a small amount of spicy sausage for an occasional kick. Thank you for sharing this recipe. We love it here in New Jersey!

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

From The Italian Dish:

Jessica: Thanks so much for sharing! So glad you love the soup.

January 29, 2016 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Like Jessica, I too have been making this for at least 2+ years and we LOVE it - - have shared with others many times!( My husband chuckles every time I say, "we need some ditalini!" - he knows WHY. getting ready to start a batch right now)

February 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKay

I've been making this soup for at least 2 years and it's one of my family's favorites! It's so simple and easy and so tasty! I usually have to make a double batch since we have it for dinner and leftovers the next day and it usually goes home with at least two of my grown kids and grandson. I can't say enough good things about this delicious soup! Don't forget a nice crusty bread and if you like it spicy add some red pepper flakes to it! We are forever grateful that you posted it! Thank you!

Gwyn Walton

February 7, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterkilyena

From The Italian Dish:

Kay & Kilyena: Thanks so much for letting me know you love the soup. Makes my day!

February 8, 2016 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]


I just found this recipe on Pintrest today and I am so glad I did. I made it for dinner, it was delicious and so easy to make!! Love this soup!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

July 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

I made this for the first time about 3 years ago. The only thing I did differently was I used ground chicken & added a little seasoning salt to it. I'm getting ready to make this today on new dietary restrictions (low sodium) and I'm planning on using the ground chicken again with salt free seasoning, low sod tomatoes, low sod canned white navy beans (also rinsed) and low sod chicken broth. I think with the thyme & other seasonings, I won't miss the salt! I will have to have a little shredded Parmesan on top though!

The only problem with this recipe is that the ditalini gets HUGE and a little gummy after reheating leftovers. I did see someone mention on a similar recipe that they cook the pasta separate & add it to the bowl but meh, that seems like a lot of work & you don't get the flavor in the pasta. I normally add more broth to reheat & deal with the mushy's too good not to eat the leftovers!

October 22, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterkim

This soup is awesome. In addition to adding spinach at the end, I also add she me cheese tortellini. It's so good. My husband loves this soup

January 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterApril

Just so you know, 1 cup of dried cannellini beans yields about three cups cooked, so that would be equal to two cans of beans, not one.

May 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarianne

I have a mission that I’m just now working on, and I have been at the look out for such information

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