The name pasta e fagioli might seem fancy, but it’s not. It’s quite the opposite, really. Pasta e fagioli means “pasta and beans” in Italian. So really, it’s just peasant food. Not that there’s anything wrong with peasant food. In fact, some of the best foods are peasant foods. Those peasants really knew what to do with those inexpensive ingredients, like pasta and beans.
Pronounced “pasta fazool” after the Neapolitan pronunciation of “fasule” for beans, pasta e fagioli has many different incantations, depending on the region and the cook. Some regions have a more soupy, brothy consistency while others have a thicker, stew-ish texture. Some are vegetarian, while some include sausage, bacon, or pancetta. The only true requirement is that both pasta and beans be present in the dish.