Instant Pot Pasta e Fagioli

Tastes just like the Olive Garden's famous soup

pasta e fagioli and breadsticks
The Spruce / Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 9 mins
Pressure Build and Release: 22 mins
Total: 46 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yields: 4 quarts
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
406 Calories
14g Fat
43g Carbs
30g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 406
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 52mg 17%
Sodium 1211mg 53%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 10g 36%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 18mg 89%
Calcium 168mg 13%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 1290mg 27%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pasta e fagioli—Italian for pasta and beans—is a classic Italian soup. Recipes for pasta e fagioli vary, but all versions include pasta and beans. This copycat version is a fast and easy preparation cooked in the Instant Pot, and it tastes just like the Olive Garden restaurant's famous soup. Ground beef, two kinds of beans, and ditalini pasta are combined in a seasoned tomato-based broth for a hearty dinner soup that's easy enough to fix and cook any night of the week.

Don't let the list of ingredients discourage you—most are pantry items you likely have on hand, and preparation is really very easy.

Serve your pasta e fagioli with garlic bread or breadsticks, and a simple tossed green salad with your family's favorite purchased or homemade Italian dressing.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion

  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots

  • 1 cup chopped celery

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

  • 1 quart low sodium chicken broth

  • 24 ounces tomato sauce (3 8-ounce cans)

  • 14 1/2 ounces canned diced tomatoes

  • 15 ounces canned cannellini beans (rinsed and drained, or use great northern beans)

  • 15 ounces canned kidney beans (rinsed and drained)

  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta

  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (or basil), optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for copycat instant pot copycat pasta fagioli
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Select the sauté setting (high). Add the olive oil to the pot. When the oil is hot, add the ground beef. Cook, stirring and breaking up the beef, until it is no longer pink.

    sautéeing the ground beef in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until fragrant and the veggies begin to soften.

    sautéeing the ground beef and vegetables in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Add about 1 cup of the chicken broth to the pot and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Add the remaining broth along with the tomato sauce, tomatoes, all of the beans, and ditalini pasta. Stir to combine.

    instant pot pasta e fagioli inspired by Olive Garden's famous soup
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Lock the Instant Pot lid in place and make sure the valve is in the sealing position. Choose manual or pressure cook, high pressure, and set the time to 3 minutes.

    Instant Pot timer is set
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. When the time is up, let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes, then carefully turn the steam release valve to the venting position. Remove the lid and stir the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired.

    instant pot with Olive Garden inspired serving dish of Olive Garden inspired pasta e fagioli
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Transfer the soup to a serving dish or ladle it into individual bowls. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley or basil, if desired.

    bowl of Olive Garden copycat pasta e fagioli cooked in the Instant Pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

How do you pronounce pasta e fagioli?

The Italian pronunciation of pasta e fagioli is pasta fa-jo-lee. In the U.S., pasta e fagioli is commonly pronounced pasta fa-zool, derived from the Neapolitan dialect, pasta e fasule.

Can pasta e fagioli be frozen?

If you plan to freeze the soup, it's best to prepare and cook the soup without the pasta, as pasta tends to break down and become mushy when frozen. Transfer the cooled soup to serving-size or meal-size containers and freeze for up to 3 months. When it's time to serve, cook the pasta separately; drain well, and add it to the reheated soup.

What is ditalini pasta?

Ditalini is a tubular pasta often described as a thimble-sized, very short macaroni. Ditalini pasta is often used in soups and salads.

Tips

If you are making variations or adding extra meat or beans, make sure your soup doesn't go above your Instant Pot's maximum fill line.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of ground beef, make the soup with ground turkey, Italian sausage, or a combination of beef and sausage.
  • Add a small to medium zucchini to the soup along with the pasta. Slice it in half lengthwise, then slice it crosswise into half-moons.
  • For a vegetarian version, replace the ground beef with another can of beans or some extra vegetables and replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.