Monday, November 30, 2009

Pasta e Fagioli

I love this soup for so many reasons. I feel like I sound like a broken record, but it's cheap to make and so easy it's stupid. My favorite thing about this soup is that it tastes JUST like the Pasta e Fagioli from the Olive Garden, which I love way too much. It's savory, a little spicy and so comforting. This recipe makes 4 quarts of soup so you can easily freeze this for another day! I think it tastes even better when all the flavors have time to get acquainted. I got the recipe from a message board a few years ago when I was on this diet called First Place. So, it's healthy too!

My notes: This calls for ground beef but you could certainly use ground turkey...sometimes I prefer the turkey against the beef. Please, oh please, drain the beans. After making this so many times I'm not sure I can ever use the gunk (what is that liquid anyway?) that the beans are packed in. It grosses me out. Drain and rinse please-and-thank-you. For the spaghetti sauce, I usually use Hunts Traditional sauce. It doesn't come in 32oz cans, so I use one whole one plus about half of another. I usually use ditalini pasta, like the Olive Garden does, instead of shell pasta. I also use dried parsley. You must serve this with crusty bread...there will be so much goodness at the bottom of your bowl that you'll want to sop up. TRUST ME! :)

Pasta e Fagioli

Serves: 12

1/2 cup water, divided
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, slivered
1 cup celery, diced
2 14.4 ounce diced canned tomatoes
1 cup canned red kidney beans, drained
1 cup canned white kidney beans, drained
5 1/2 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons leaf oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
32 ounces spaghetti sauce, no sugar added
4 ounces dry shell pasta

Preparation: Saute beef in 1/4 cup water in a large 8-quart pot until beef starts to brown. Drain. Add 1/4 cup water onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse beans and add to pot. Also add beef stock, oregano, pepper, Tabasco, spaghetti sauce, and noodles. Add chopped parsley. Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes. Makes about 5 quarts of soup! Make at least one day before serving for best flavor. Freezes wonderfully. Serving size 1 1/2 cups.

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