now that it's cold outside, it is the perfect weather for soup. typically, i am not a fan of soups at most restaurants since they tend to be overly salty. however, i do enjoy having soup, salad, and bread sticks at olive garden from time to time. so, i was excited when i found a copy cat recipe for olive garden's pasta e fagioli soup.
this copy cat recipe is super easy to make, and it is pretty close to the real deal. except of course, it is less expensive, far less salty, and healthier than the original. you could substitute ground turkey or even ground sausage for the ground beef. you could also make this soup vegetarian by simply omitting the ground beef and substituting vegetable broth for the beef broth.
this soup is a meal all by itself. we took it to work for lunch, and it sure did fill us up. this soup is hearty, and it warms you from the inside out. it is absolutely the perfect soup for a cold day. i recommend serving it with some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top, and a french baguette or a slice of italian bread on the side.
olive garden's pasta e fagioli soup
prep time: 10-15 minutes
cooking time: 40-45 minutes
yields: 6 servings
adapted from cooking classy
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 medium carrots, sliced
4 celery stalks, sliced
2 small yellow onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 (8 oz.) cans low-sodium tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 (15oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz.) can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup ditalini pasta, dry
in a large pot, over medium heat, saute the carrots, celery, and onions in the olive oil until tender (about 5 minutes). add the garlic and saute for another minute. reduce the heat to low, and add the beef broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, and spices. bring the soup to a simmer, stirring often.
meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat, cook the ground beef until completely cooked throughout. drain any fat from the beef. add the cooked beef to the soup and the beans to the soup. prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package. once cooked, add the pasta to the soup. allow the soup to cook with all of the ingredients (about 5 minutes).
season with salt and pepper to taste. serve hot with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a baguette.