Pasta e fagioli, meaning "pasta and beans", is a traditional meatless Italian dish. Like many other Italian favorites including pizza and polenta, the dish started as a peasant dish, being composed of inexpensive ingredients. Today it can be widely found, even in restaurants that do not specialize in Italian cuisine. It is often pronounced pasta fazool in the United States (after the pronunciation of beans in the Neapolitan language).
The recipe varies greatly based on the region or town in which it is prepared, depending on available ingredients. The consistency of the dish can vary, with some being soupy, while others are much thicker. For instance, in Bari the dish is thicker in consistency and uses mixed pasta shapes. It also uses pancetta in the base of the sauce. Other varieties call for the beans to be passed through a food mill, giving it a stew-like consistency.
In popular culture
The word for "beans" varies in different Italian dialects, e.g. fagioli ([faˈdʒɔːli]) in standard Italian, fasúl ([faˈsuːl]) in Neapolitan, and [faˈsuːlu] in Sicilian. "Pastafazoola" a 1927 novelty song by Van and Schenck, capitalizes on the Neapolitan pronunciation in the rhyme, "Don't be a fool, eat pasta fazool". The Dean Martin song "That's Amore" also rhymes "When the stars make you drool, just-a like pasta fazool, that's amore". In the second season of the animated HBO sitcom The Life & Times of Tim, Tim was taken to the backroom of a gambling casino after being suspected of counting cards, while he was being questioned, the manager told him that his name was Frankie two fists, he had two fists and he could make his face look like pasta fazool.