Pasta e Fagioli Soup- Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

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One of my favorite casual restaurant meals is Olive Garden's Soup, Salad, and Breadsticks lunch.  One of my favorite soups there is the pasta e fagioli.  Hearty, filling, and yet it feels light.  I just love it.  Then I made it, thanks to this recipe!

It's easy and makes enough for a small country so I suggest freezing about half this recipe for later use.  That is, unless your family is the size of the Duggers. 

I am going to show the recipe as I made it and also list other suggestions in the notes section.  For the original recipe, click on the recipe title below, which is the link to the site where I found this recipe.

Pasta e Fagioli
from Farm Girl in the Suburbs Blog (link above)

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1- 28 oz can diced tomatoes (or 2 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes)
1 15-oz. can red kidney beans
1 15-oz. can Great Northern Beans
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 T. white vinegar
1 ½ t. salt
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
½ t. pepper
½ t. thyme
½ lb. Ditali pasta
1 qt. chicken or beef broth or water

Brown the ground beef and onion in a large stock pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat.

Add the carrot, celery, and garlic, and saute for 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Add remaining ingredients except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring often.

At 50 minutes into simmer time, cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta (reserve cooking liquid) and add to the pot of soup.

Simmer for 5-10 minutes and if soup is too thick, add broth, water, or even the reserved pasta water until it is the desired thickness and saltiness.  Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

  • I made this recipe as was posted on the blog site, and felt that it lacked both salt and liquid.  I had about 2 c. chicken broth in the fridge, and even after adding that, felt it was still not soupy enough and not salty enough.  I added 1-2 cups of pasta water to add additional liquid and salt.  I sometimes neglect it, but it's so important to taste as you go and to adjust seasonings
  • The vinegar really does make a difference, though I'm not foodie enough to know why.  I plan on trying red wine vinegar next time.
  • I have not yet tried it in the crock pot, but I'd just about bet money you could brown the meat and throw everything else into the crock pot, warm it through without the pasta, and pick it up from there.

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