Say hello to soup season and another restaurant copycat recipe you can make at home. Whenever we’d to go to Olive Garden I use to always get the Minestrone soup or once in a while the Zuppa Toscana. A few months ago I finally decided to step out of that comfort zone and try something new, their Pasta e Fagioli Soup. It is hearty and delicious. It is a meal of itself. I don’t love everything at Olive Garden but I always like their soup and their salad (although I wish the salad had better greens in it and it wasn’t so skimpy on the tomatoes and olives. And no I’m not picky =). Anyway I thought this soup would be pretty easy to recreate at home, so yesterday I went and ordered their Pasta e Fagioli Soup and brought it home to make my own and compare. They are nearly exactly the same. I didn’t do the fancy matchstick cut of the carrots but feel free to do so if you’d like.
I just served this as the main dish along with some fresh out of the oven (unbelievably simple to make) Crusty Rustic Bread and some fresh garlic butter. To make the garlic butter I just combine 1 small clove of crushed garlic with 1/4 cup softened butter then season it with salt and fresh ground black pepper. It’s a simple and amazing dinner that everyone will love. Enjoy!
Update 3/7/12 – I added new pictures just because I didn’t like my old ones from a few years ago. Also, I was totally out of tomato sauce, so I substituted tomato paste by adding a 7 oz can of tomato paste to a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, then I added enough water to equal 2 1/4 cups and whisked it to blend. I also upped the garlic one clove and the onion to 1 cup to make up for the flavors those add to tomato sauce. Just thought I’d mention it in case you were out too.
- 1 lb lean ground beef or mild Italian sausage (I've tried both and like either)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium, you can cut them into matchsticks if desired)
- 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
- 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 of a large)
- 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
- 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 3 cups beef broth (chicken broth works fine too)
- 1 cup water
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 scant cup ditalini pasta, uncooked
- 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- Romano cheese (I also like it with Italian cheese blend), for serving
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium high heat, crumble in ground beef or sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Pour beef (along with fat from beef, if you want it to be healthier you can drain the fat) into a bowl, set aside. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in same large saucepan, saute carrots, celery and onion over medium high heat until tender about 4 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to a low, add tomato sauce, beef broth, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, cooked beef along, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and allow to simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until veggies are soft. Meanwhile prepare ditalini pasta according to directions on package, cooking to al dente.
- Add cooked and drained pasta to soup along with kidney beans and great northern beans and allow to cook 5 minutes longer. Serve warm with grated Romano cheese if desired.
- Note: the longer the soup rests the more liquid the pasta will absorb so you can thin it with additional beef broth if desired.
- Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
Here are the old photos. It’s still the same recipe.