Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Pasta e Fagioli (Olive Garden copycat)

For a person who has really never been that fond of soups, I have recently become obsessed.  Perhaps it is the bitter cold winter that we have been having, or perhaps I just realized that soups really aren't that hard to make (and they are very hard to mess up) and the homemade stuff is just SO GOOD!  Plus, you have total control over what goes in - how thick or thin you want it, how much salt you want, the veggies, the broth, the seasonings... I honestly don't know that I will ever buy a can of soup again.  This particular soup is supposed to be a copycat version of the Pasta e Fagioli at Olive Garden.  Personally, I cannot attest to how much it tastes like the restaurant version, as I have never had it there.  (Though, I would hazard a guess that this is better.)  But, I can say that my husband raved about it hours after dinner the first time I made it.  

  • 1 cup ditalini pasta 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
  • 1 pound ground mild or spicy Italian sausage
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced 
  • 2 stalks celery, diced 
  • 3-4 cups chicken or beef broth (I use chicken stock)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce 
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 (15-ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed 
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well and set aside. 
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, crumbling the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and set aside. 
  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the stockpot. Stir in garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Whisk in 3 cups of broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, reserved Italian sausage and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 25-30 minutes. 
  5. Stir in pasta and beans as well as an additional cup of broth (if a thinner soup is desired) and heat for an additional 5 minutes or until heated through.

Difficulty: medium to easy - just some chopping involved; nothing too hard
Time: about 45 minutes to 1 hour, not all of which is active time
Source:  Adapted from Cooking Classy 

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