, , , , , , ,

Italian Bean Soup with Mini-Meatballs

Italian Bean Soup with Mini-Meatballs.  I intentionally did not call this a recipe for Pasta e fagioli, although it was clearly my inspiration.  Pasta e fagioli is traditionally a meatless dish, comprised of pasta and beans in a tomato base.  When I did my standard recipe research I had a hard time avoiding the bazillion copycat recipes for Olive Garden’s Pasta e fagioli.  We may be the only family I know who has not had a bowl of Olive Garden’s Pasta e fagioli.  I’m sure it’s delicious but I chose not to compete with the masses.

Instead I’m delivering Italian Bean Soup with Mini-Meatballs, inspired by Pasta e fagioli AND the delicious Italian Meatballs we enjoyed over the weekend.  I think this was a combination of win.

Pasta e fagioli

I’ve made it known that I have a soft spot for meatballs.  In fact I’ve even shared with you my Food Truck Fantasy (Mobile Meatballs).  They seemed like a great combination with this tomato based soup.  I prebaked the meatballs for 10 minutes so they would firm up a bit and hold their shape when added to the soup.  They then completed their cooking nestled in the fabulous broth.

pasta e fagioli

Besides the white beans, the addition of small pasta, such as Ditalini is key in this soup.  I cooked the pasta separately and added it to individual serving bowls.  This way, if there were any leftovers, the pasta didn’t drink up all of our broth.  I’m delivering a bowl of Italian Bean Soup with Mini-Meatballs to one of my favorite taste-testers (who happens to be a big fan of Olive Garden’s Pasta e fagioli).  I’ll let her report back.

Pasta e fagioli

Italian Bean Soup with Mini-Meatballs {Pasta e fagioli inspired}

Libby with Lemony Thyme
I'm delivering Italian Bean Soup with Mini-Meatballs, inspired by Pasta e fagioli AND delicious Italian Meatballs.
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 6


For the meatballs…

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 handful fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

For the soup…

  • 1 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 celery ribs chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. Mrs. Dash garlic & herb seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 30-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup Marinara or tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans such as Cannellini or Great Northern, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 pound Ditalini dried pasta or other small pasta

To serve…

  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley
  • drizzle olive oil


For the meatballs…

  • Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl combine all meatball ingredients, except meat. Add meat and gently mix until just combined. Form into small (3/4-inch diameter) meatballs, arrange on baking sheet. Should make 60 – 70 meatballs. Bake for 10 minutes and reserve. Meatballs will complete their cooking in the soup.

For the soup…

  • Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and reserve.
  • In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion, carrots and celery; sauté until tender about 10 minutes. Add in garlic and seasoning and cook an additional minute.
  • Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Add in drained beans and return to a simmer. Gently add meatballs to soup pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

To serve…

  • Add a generous scoop of warm pasta to individual bowls, then cover with hot soup. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil

 31,905 total views,  6 views today

Print Friendly, PDF & Email