Pasta Fagioli is filled with lean ground beef, beans, and pasta. In a way, it’s an Italian-style chili. Olive Garden has a delicious pasta fagioli and this recipe is the best copycat version of it!
During my college years I worked as a waitress at the Olive Garden. These were some great times with lots of memories made. I learned a lot about life, and myself, during that time. It’s kind of funny, but I often think I learned more about life working as a waitress than I did during 6 years of college – that includes my Masters Degree. Nothing can replace real world experiences.
Today, when I eat dinner at the Olive Garden I’m always brought right back to that time in my life. I love all the delicious aromas floating in the air. I don’t go there as often as I like for obvious reasons – I have no self-control when it comes to garlic sticks, salad, soups, and everything else on the menu.
Therefore, I try to recreate my favorite Olive Garden meals at home. So far I have successfully recreated the chicken alfredo pizza and Zuppa Toscana. Both of these recipes are delicious! My salad pizzas were also inspired by an Olive Garden version they don’t make anymore. They used to make this ceasar salad pizza that was AMAZING. I don’t know why they took it off the menu.
Pasta Fagioli Recipe
My latest Olive Garden recreation is the beloved Pasta Fagioli. This soup is a meal in itself with ground beef, pasta, and lots of beans. This one pot meal is easy to make and smells delicious as it cooks. It needs about 45 minutes to 1 hour to simmer to guarantee the carrots and celery have softened up. If you find that your soup is a little thick then add some more beef broth until you get the desired consistency.
Also, many of the recipes I found online call for the pasta to be added straight to the soup. I opted not to do this because anytime I put pasta straight into a soup it gets way to mushy and it soaks up a lot of the liquid causing the soup to become too thick. I just add the pasta to my bowl then pour the soup over top. This also helps with controlling the amount of pasta you eat. In my experience, soup always freezes better without the pasta added to it. So, if you want to freeze this soup leave the pasta out until you are ready to eat.
This Pasta Fagioli recipe is soooo delicious and was a HUGE hit in my house – especially with my youngest. She loved it! I could not believe the size of the bowl she ate. If you love the Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli then give this recipe a try.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 3 cups beef broth, plus more if needed
- 1 (15 ounce can) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups cooked ditalini pasta
- In a 6 quart or larger dutch oven heat up the olive oil. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and cook until onions are translucent.
- Stir in the oregano, basil, and thyme. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the spices are fragrant.
- Stir in the tomato paste.
- Add the ground beef to onion mixture and sprinkle with the salt. Cook until beef is browned. Break up into small pieces as it cooks.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beef broth, red kidney beans, and white kidney beans.
- Bring to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until carrots and celery are soft. Add more beef broth if the soup gets too thick.
- Serve with cooked ditalini pasta
This soup can be made completely ahead of time and frozen. I recommend freezing without the pasta and adding the pasta the day you eat.
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