I have to admit that I almost never go to Olive Garden. In fact, the only time I go is when the people I work with decide to go there. I am not in love with anything there. Most people go there for the soup. I make most of the soups on the menu, which makes me not very excited about their versions. The last time I was there, I tried the only soup I never had before, Pasta Fagoli. My mom always described it to me as an Italian style chili.
I have to admit, it was pretty good. So, I knew I had to try to make it at home. I wanted it to be packed with beans and beef. It had to be comforting. I noticed small pieces of carrots and celery in the broth. Now don’t get me wrong, I was not trying to recreate the Olive Garden’s soup. Instead, I was trying to make my own version that meets my flavor profile that I was looking for.
This was good the first day. It was amazing as left overs. It is comforting, filling, and delicious. Topped with cheese, it is so tempting. It really warms from the inside. I recommend cooking the pasta separately, draining it, and rinsing it. Then, just add a small amount to each bowl before serving. That way, the pasta is still a bit toothy, adding another layer of texture to the soup. This soup freezes very well.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1-2 hours
Keywords: simmer soup/stew
Ingredients (6-8 servings)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 2 carrots, cut into small matchsticks
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 6 cups water
- 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons beef Better Than Bouillon Beef Flavor
- handful of grated parmesan cheese
- handful diced basil
- 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
Heat the oil in an 8 quart skillet on medium. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add celery and carrots. Cook until tender. Add the ground beef and cook until brown.
Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes. Add black pepper, crushed red pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes, water, beans, and better than bouillon. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse.
Add the parmesan cheese and basil. Simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve hot with cooked pasta.