My husband isn’t the biggest fan of soups…but a few weeks ago we visited an Olive Garden and he ordered a bowl of Pasta e Fagioli….and LIKED IT. So took a mental note of it and I came with my own version inspired by the Olive Garden.
- 1 cup small pasta (ditalini, shells, elbows..etc)
- Olive Oil
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 small diced onion
- 1 small bag baby carrots
- 3 stalks of chopped celery
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
- Salt and pepper
- 1-1.5 pound Spicy Italian Sausage, casing removed
- 2 15 ounce cans Red Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 15 ounce can Great Northern Beans (drained and rinsed) (if you can’t find these, substitute with Cannellini/Navy beans)
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Optional: Fresh Parmesan Cheese Rind (I always save and freeze these, they are great for soups and sauces)
Start by boiling water for the pasta. Make sure to salt your water well…it should taste like the sea. Once the water boils, cook your pasta to al dente; which means it’s just slightly firm. Set aside.
Coat the bottom of a large sauce pot with Olive oil and heat over medium/high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned. Make sure to break apart the sausage as it cooks.
Once the sausage has browned, turn off the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked sausage and set aside. Drain some, but not all the remaining fat and return the pot to the stove and set on a medium high heat.
Carefully add onions and celery to the pot and saute for 5 minutes, or until the onions turn slightly see thru.
Now add garlic and baby carrots. I like to keep my carrots whole, but if you want chop them up.
Add beans and Italian Seasoning. Next add chicken stock…be careful…it could spit.
Now add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and optional Parmesan Cheese Rind. Bring to a low boil.
Once the soup has reached a boil; carefully add sausage back to the pot. Reduce heat to a medium/low and simmer for 2 hours.
Make sure you stir, because it could stick.
After 2 hours, taste your soup and add salt
and pepper to taste.
Place cooked pasta in a bowl and cover with soup. Adding pasta at the end keeps the it from becoming over cooked and mushy.
Delicious served topped with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and paired with a slice of freshly baked peasant bread.