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.