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Pressure Cooker Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli, AKA Pasta Fazool)

Pressure Cooker Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta Fazool)

Pressure Cooker Pasta and Bean Soup. Pasta Fazool is a classic Italian-American recipe for a reason – it’s a hearty meal in a bowl.

Now that it’s winter, everyone wants soup.

My sister-in-law wanted to know why I didn’t have more soup recipes on my blog.

My wife asked for more soup in our weekly meal plans.

And Frank, my barber, was rhapsodizing about his mom’s old style Italian-American cooking. When I asked him for an example, he started with mom’s pasta and bean soup.

Pasta and bean soup? (Or Pasta Fazool, as Frank says it?) I can do that.

Pasta e Fagioli, pasta and bean soup, is simple. Cook some white beans. Use the thick, creamy bean cooking liquid to cook pasta. Serve them together. Easy, right?

I think I can improve on that. (No offense to Frank’s mom.) I pressure cook the beans, making this a weeknight meal. I brine the beans while I soak them, to season them all the way through. I add a bunch of aromatics to the pot, including a fistful of herb stems, a Parmesan rind, and a whole head of garlic.
*Yes, toss the whole head of garlic in there, skin and all. We’ll pull it out after it gives up its flavor to the beans. Make sure to trim off any roots, though. They hold on to dirt, and dirt is not an aromatic.


Finally, I cook a half pound of small pasta in the bean liquid. It soaks up all the flavors and turns this into a thick soup, one that borders on a stew. Still simple, still delicious.
*No pressure cooker? No worries. See the Variations section for cooking instructions using a standard dutch oven.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli, AKA Pasta Fazool)

Inspired by: Tamar Adler, An Everlasting Meal

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Pressure Cooker Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli, AKA Pasta Fazool)

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 9 hours
  • Yield: 68 1x


Pressure Cooker Pasta and Bean Soup recipe. Pasta e Fagioli, AKA Pasta Fazool, is a classic Italian-American recipe for a reason – it’s a hearty meal in a bowl.



Brined beans

  • 1 pound dried great northern or cannellini beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 tablespoon table salt


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, halved, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 whole head of garlic, roots trimmed off
  • Stems from ½ bunch of parsley (leaves saved for accompaniments)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces small dried pasta (I used ditalini)
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Red Pepper Flakes


  1. Sort, rinse, and brine the beans: At least 8 hours before cooking, sort the great northern beans, removing broken beans, stones, or dirt clods. Rinse the beans, put them in a large container, cover with 2 tablespoons Kosher salt and 4 quarts water, and stir to dissolve the salt. Let the beans soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  2. Saute the aromatics: Heat the olive oil in an Instant Pot with sauté mode set to high (or other pressure cooker set to medium-high heat) until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion, celery, carrots, red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon salt. Saute until the onions are softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.
  3. Pressure cook the beans: Rinse the great northern beans, drain, and add to the pressure cooker, along with the water and canned tomatoes. Tie the parsley stems and rosemary sprig into a bundle, and float on top of the liquid in the cooker, along with the Parmesan rind and the head of garlic. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, and bring the cooker up to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 18 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric PC, or for 15 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure release naturally, about 20 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes.) Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you – even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot.
  4. Cook the pasta: Fish out the herb bundle, head of garlic, and Parmesan rind, and discard. Turn the heat to high under the cooker and bring the pot back to a simmer. Stir in the 1 tablespoon Kosher salt and the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 9 minutes. (Note – do not lock the lid again – we aren’t cooking the pasta under pressure.) Stir in the black pepper and balsamic vinegar, taste, and add more salt, pepper, and vinegar as needed.
  5. Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle the accompaniments on top, and serve.
  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Italian


*Vegan beans: Skip the Parmesan rind and grated Parmesan. Substitute a couple of dried porcini mushrooms for the rind, and drizzle the soup with olive oil.

*Carnivore beans: Add some diced pancetta with the onions, and cook until browned. Or, brown the pancetta separately and use it as a garnish. Even better, if you have a ham bone, toss it in the pot with the beans. When the beans are done cooking, remove the bone, strip off any ham that was left, shred it, and stir it into the beans.

*No time to soak: Sort and rinse the beans, skip the brining/soaking step, and pressure cook the beans for 45 minutes on high pressure with a natural pressure release. Increase the amount of salt in the “pressure cook beans” step to 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt.

*No pressure cooker? No problem: follow the directions, replacing the pressure cooker pot with a large pot or dutch oven. In the “cook the cannellini beans” step, add 10 cups of water instead of 8 cups, bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and partially cover. Simmer until the beans are creamy,  about 2 hours. Continue with the rest of the recipe as written.


*Soup, salad and bread sticks is probably too “Olive Garden”…but I love it anyhow. Serve this with a green salad and bread sticks.

*If you have an 8 quart or larger pressure cooker, you can double the recipe. Frozen soup makes a great lunch. (After it has been reheated, of course. A block of frozen soup isn’t that appetizing.)

*At first, the kids were horrified. “Pasta and beans? Together in a soup? All touching each other? It’s too many things. They should be separate!”

Somehow, they got past that fear and tasted the pasta. (I think showing them the cute little ditalini tubes helped.) Once they tasted it, they tried a bean, and then a little of the broth. The next thing I knew, I was ladling out second helpings.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans in Tex-Mex Broth
Basic Technique: Pressure Cooker Beans
Click here for my other pressure cooker recipes.

Inspired by:

Tamar Adler, An Everlasting Meal

Lorna Sass, Pressure Perfect

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Filed under: Pressure cooker


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Mike says

    Hi – I have a question about the quantities for brining the beans. The ingredient amounts are different than what are listed in the directions. Am I misunderstanding something? Can you please clarify? Thank you.

    • You’re right – cut and paste will be the death of me. I fixed the instructions; the quantities in the Ingredients list were correct.

      • Mike says

        Thank you. I made this last night and it is excellent! A great vegetarian dish for Lent. By the way, I also use Rancho Gordo beans and used their Cranberry Beans in this dish, which were perfect. (hopefully its ok to mention this)

  2. Bev says

    For the no-soak method, do you pressure cook the beans for 45 minutes, then do the saute aromatics and pressure cook again with the tomatoes for 18 minutes? Or is it pressure cook everything for 45?

  3. This was the first Instant pot recipe I tried and to this day, it remains the crowd favorite! Whenever someone asks for an instant pot recipe – I share your website. I have found it takes me closer to 2 hours to make with bringing the pressure up and releasing the pressure but I do take my time about making this dish. The parmesan rind adds so much flavor. I use all the ingredients exactly – except I add a bay leaf and tie all the herbs/garlic/parmesan rind in a cheesecloth and drop in on top – I like the easy removal later. That’s just my preference (kids hate any hint of green specs in the soup!) The vinegar at the end is also key. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.

  4. Diann Catena says

    To double the recipe, do I double all the ingredients?
    I have the 8 qt pot

  5. Kara says

    Made this Sunday and it was a delicious and easy to follow recipe. Leftovers were great, too. Thanks!

  6. Cindy Turner says

    Do you have an Instant Pot lasagna recipe? So thankful for you informative site.

  7. Three more comments:

    (1) I made this today as planned and it came out PERFECTLY.
    (2) I made it with this extremely quick and easy Italian Bread:
    (3) Don’t throw away the garlic when you pull it out! Instead, set it aside and let it cool. Then squeeze the cooked garlic out of the skin — it’ll come right out. Spread it on crusty bread or crackers as a snack.

    Thanks again for a great recipe. It fed three hungry people with enough for lunch tomorrow and two more meals for one in the freezer. Gotta love it.

  8. There’s no step 5!

    I’m making this recipe today and am quite excited about it. This was the first thing my mother taught me to cook when I was a kid — maybe 8 or 9 years old. Of course, we didn’t make it in a pressure cooker and my mother used canned beans instead of dried ones. (My grandmother always used dried beans.) We pronounce this like your friend Frank does, “Pasta Fazool.” I lost that original recipe but I suspect this will come out very much the same.

    Thanks for sharing! I love making things in my new Instant Pot and this site has become a Go-To destination for interesting recipes.

  9. Jane says

    Thanks for an excellent recipe! I tweaked it by adding some italian sausage (un-cased and mixed in) as the aromatics were browning. My husband and I loved it! As for my kids, I quote my son: “Too many ingredients.” but they did try it. However, it is brillant and I will make it often. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome. Tell your son that my kids agree with him about too many ingredients…or, on second thought, maybe you should keep that between us.

  10. Thank you for giving the recipe a common English name and then the Italian name! I probably would have bypassed the recipe had I read the words fagioli or fazool before reading pasta and bean soup! Looking forward to making the recipe.

  11. Lindsey says

    Made this yesterday and my 6-year-old and I loved it. He added some broken up leftover meatballs to his, and I added some fresh spinach to mine. Thank you! And please keep the pressure cooker recipes coming!

    • Thank you! And, don’t worry, the pressure cooker recipes are coming…I’m just in the middle of grilling fever, now that spring is here. Once tha wears off, I’ll have more pressure cooker goodness coming.

  12. I have to confess – I didn’t know I was breaking the rules with the tomatoes until after I made the recipe. I made it with both soaked and unsoaked beans, and never had problems with it. Right after writing up the recipe, I read you shouldn’t cook beans with tomatoes…

    I think there are a lot of old wives tales about beans, since they are such a finicky ingredient. I need to do some real testing on beans in the PC…

  13. Michael says

    You’re damn smart! I like it! Brining the beans flavours them, and keeps the skin from splitting, right?

  14. Mike, you break all the rules!  You introduced me to brined beans, now you’re cooking them with tomatoes?!? THIS I have to try – I’ve cooked lentils with tomatoes so why not cannelini?  I guess the key is to soak them! 

    Your recipe makes ALOT of  soup!! When I make my pasta e fagioli (for my family of 4)  I usually use one cup of dry beans to one cup of dry pasta. But you’ve definitely got the consistency right. It should be right between a dry soup and watery pasta.



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