It’s no secret that I do NOT like Italian food… I mean I’ll heat up a frozen lasagna from time to time, and of course I love pizza but when it comes to true Italian food – I’m generally not a fan. We rarely eat at Italian restaurants for this reason… However, now and then, we’ll get an itch for some Olive Garden soup, salad and breadsticks – cause it’s fast and cheap. (I realize it’s debatable whether or not Olive Garden is true Italian but that’s not the point…) The last time we were there I was studying my Fagioli soup and thought, “I could totally make this”. So I did. And it’s good. The recipe makes A LOT – you may want to half it, but if you have a big family, it would be great just the way it is (and plenty for leftovers).
Here’s what you need:
Just a few additions to the above… You will also need 8 oz of dry pasta. Most fagioli soups are made with Ditalini but I use whatever I have on hand (shells, macaroni, etc.). I cooked the pasta separately and added it just before serving. You can cook this in a LARGE slow cooker or in a big pot on the stove for a couple hours. When you’re about ready to serve, cook up your pasta and add it.
The steps are pretty simple:
1. Brown your meat (you can use whatever kind of ground meat you want).
2. Cut up your carrots, celery, garlic and onions. I did a combo of slicing & dicing – do whatever ya like!
3. Add everything to your slow cooker or pot.
Just a tip, I did keep some extra beef broth and had a can of tomato sauce on hand just in case it got too thick. You could add or leave it thick – totally a personal preference. About 15 minutes before I served (when I started making the pasta), I added an 8 oz can of tomato sauce – this is totally optional tho.
Let it cook for 5 – 6 hours on low in the slow cooker. If you are cooking in a pot on the stove, bring it all to a boil and then reduce to low and cook for an hour or so (stirring occasionally). Everything is actually cooked so if you only want to cook it for 10 minutes, that works too. However, I find it tastes much better when all the flavors have time to fuse and the veggies get soft – that’s why I put cook for an hour. Last time I made it I let it sit on the stove for a couple hours on low and it was perfect. Once it’s done, top it with some shredded parmesan cheese and serve! I picked up a box of frozen garlic breadsticks (just keeping it real) and served those along with the soup. Enjoy!
I drew inspiration from these two recipes: