For garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese; additional chopped parsley or rosemary
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the sausage. Cook until no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat (about 5-7 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and place it on a plate (leave the fat in the pot).
Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the remaining fat in the pot. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until tender (about 7-8 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Season with salt and pepper; add beans, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, broth, parsley and rosemary.
Bring to a boil, then stir in the pasta. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking for about 10-11 more minutes (or until the pasta is tender). Stir the pasta regularly as it’s cooking so that it doesn’t stick to the pot.
Stir in the cooked sausage, and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional herbs and freshly grated Parmesan.
Simmer the soup with a Parmesan rind for even more flavor in the pot. Remove the rind before serving.
Include extra fresh herbs, such as basil or oregano, for even more fresh Italian flavor.
Don't overcook the noodles or they will become mushy in your soup. Add them to the pot just before you're ready to serve.
The total cooking time for the pasta will depend on the size and shape that you choose. Ditalini typically needs about 10-15 minutes in the simmering broth, but keep an eye on it and turn off the heat when the pasta is just barely tender. It will continue to soften and plump up as it sits in the hot soup.
Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well.
Garnish each bowl with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor. Extra fresh parsley or other herbs are also a delicious finishing touch.
Is pasta fagioli soup healthy? Yes! This dish combines filling vegetables and protein in one bowl. Each cup of the soup has about 245 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein.