Monday, July 19, 2010

Pasta e Fagioli (aka Olive Garden Minestrone Soup)

Thanks for being patient with me the last couple of weeks. I am back in town now, but we are now getting ready to move out of state. I am trying to have some posts scheduled so that there will be something new to look at every couple of days, but if I disappear again, please know I will be back soon! I've just got to pack, move, and then unpack, etc. etc. Whenever I go to the Olive Garden, I almost always get the same thing- the soup and salad combo with minestrone soup. I love it! So when I was visiting my family last week, my mom suggested we make this recipe for dinner one night and I'm so glad we did! It tastes every bit like the wonderful soup at OG, but now I can make it at home for way cheaper than it is to buy a bowl and their salad. Mmmmmm! The day we chose to make this soup ended up being rather busy, so we followed the first 2 steps and then threw everything, except the pasta, into the crockpot and let it simmer while we were gone. Then about 20-30 minutes before we sat down for dinner, we stirred in the cooked pasta (so make sure you cook your pasta ahead of time if you want to cook it this way). We also had some fresh peas from the garden that we threw into the mix, and you could do that with any vegetables you have hanging around. It was so delicious and I can't wait to make this again!

Pasta e Fagioli (aka Olive Garden Minestrone Soup)
1 pound ground beef 1 small onion, diced (1 cup) 1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup) 3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup) 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes 1 15-ounce can red beans (with liquid) 1 15-ounce can great northern beans (with liquid) 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce 1 12-ounce can V-8 juice 1 tablespoon white vinegar 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1/2 pound (1/2 pkg.) ditali pasta 1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat. 2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. 3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour. 4. About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook the pasta in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain. 5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve. Serves 8.

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