Before we moved to our current town, we had an Olive Garden just down the street, so we would often go for their famous soup salad and breadsticks. I always got the Pasta e Fagioli soup, and Jamie would get the Zuppa Toscana.
Since we don't have a conveniently located Olive Garden any more, we took it upon ourselves to develop our own version of this hearty soup. Serve it with your favorite garlic bread or fresh dinner rolls and you're all set!
This is a crockpot-based recipe, but it makes such a big batch, I also freeze some. Here's what we do: I make the base soup, which is everything BUT the pasta. No one wants to eat pasta that's been in the crockpot all day!
Once that's all well-cooked and finished, I'll actually set some aside to freeze. Without the pasta in it, it freezes beautifully, so then we can easily thaw it later, boil up some pasta and voila! Homemade soup in no time flat. Also, when we're watching carbs, we'll just eat the meat and veggie soup with no pasta. You could even switch it up with cooked rice, riced cauliflower or zoodles.
Pasta e Fagioli Ingredients
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. italian sausage
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2-28 oz. cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 16 oz. can red kidney beans, drained
- 16 oz. can white kidney beans, drained
- 30 oz. beef stock
- 3 t. oregano
- 2 t. fresh ground pepper
- 5 t. parsley
- 1 t. Tabasco sauce
- 1 (20 oz.) jar of spaghetti sauce
- 8 oz. cooked pasta
Pasta e Fagioli Process
First brown the ground beef and sausage together, and drain well. Set aside.
Rough chop the carrots, celery and onion, and cook all together until the onions are translucent.
Dump everything except the pasta into your large crock pot. I find it helps to mix the ingredients together as I go, because the pot will end up very full and this will get a good blend of your ingredients. You may not be able to fit all of the broth!
The pot will be VERY full; you may even need to keep some of the liquid out and add it later in the cooking to add a little more liquid after it evaporates.
Cook on low for 6 hours.
At this point, this is when I'll put aside some of the soup to freeze for later. A couple of servings is a good size to have on hand for lunch or dinner some other day.
When it's just about dinner time, boil pasta according to directions in a separate pot, then add cooked pasta to soup mix in crock pot.
Serve topped with fresh parmesan.
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