Have you ever had the pasta fagioli soup from Olive Garden? It's delicious. So when I came upon this recipe, I was very curious as to whether it would be able to compare to the restaurant version. I have to admit that one reason I had reservations was because one of the ingredients it calls for is jarred pasta sauce from the store...I thought that the flavor would really stand out and that it would taste like soup with a jar of pasta sauce and that the flavors wouldn't blend well. However, I went ahead and tried it and was I ever impressed! From what I can remember about how the soup tastes at Olive Garden, this recipe tastes exactly like it! It's hearty, healthy, and super easy.
I found this recipe one day when I stumbled upon a A Year of Crockpotting. This blog is great for those of you looking for slow cooker recipes, because the author tried one recipe a day for an entire year (and she's still going) in her crockpot. She was even featured on the Rachel Ray show! I have found it hard to find good crockpot recipes because I don't love using lots of "cream of this or that" soups and other processed ingredients, but this blog has a huge variety of recipes.
Pasta Fagioli Soup
From A Year of Crockpotting
I N G R E D I E N T S :
1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (and juice)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups beef broth
1 jar (16.5 oz) pasta sauce *
2 tsp oregano
1 T Tabasco sauce **
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup dry pasta, to add at end of cooking time
D I R E C T I O N S :
Use a 6 quart or larger crockpot, or cut the recipe in half. This makes a lot. ***
Brown the meat on the stovetop, and drain well. Let it cool a bit.
Chop up the carrots, onion, and celery. Add it to the empty crockpot.
Drain and rinse the beans, and add them. Add the whole cans of tomatoes, and the pasta sauce. Add the beef broth. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, and Tobasco sauce. Stir in your meat.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. When the vegetables are tender, stir in the 1/2 cup of dry pasta.
Cover and cook for another hour on low, or until the pasta is tender. It will swell quite a bit.
Serve with a bit of parmesan cheese if you have it.
*I used Kroger Brand Marinara sauce, and the soup had a wonderful flavor.
**I did not use any Tobasco sauce because I don't like things hot, but I'm sure you'd like it if you like things with some heat.
***Of course, you can make this on the stove top rather than in the crockpot. I did make it in the crockpot and it was so nice to dump in the ingredients (I even browned the beef the night before and stuck it in the fridge so it would be ready) and then have a great meal a few hours later.
This is a great meal with some bread and salad!