Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

Italian to English translation - pasta and beans. Say it with me, pasta fazool. That sounds funny, doesn't it. Fazoooool.

This stormy and rainy winter weather we are having here in California just screams big bowl of soup. At least it does to me. Even more so, it screams crock pot. Which you all know by now is one of my favorite kitchen gagets. My #1 favorite and BFF in the kitchen, is my Kitchen Aid mixer. Now that I think about it, I should probably give it a name. I seem to give everything else a name. Yes, I am strange. I like to think it's cute. Okay, back to soup and pasta e fagioli. Now, this name may look familiar. Does anyone recognize it? Well, if you have ever eaten at Olive Garden, you've probably seen this on their menu. Well, if you don't eat their soup (wait, slurp their soup), maybe you haven't. I'll be honest, I really only go their for their soup and salad and breadsticks. I try to limit myself to one garlicky breakstick, but lets be honest. Who can just have one? The funny thing is that this pasta and beans soup is probably the only soup I've never had there. I prefer the chicken gnocchi or I'll switch it up with the zuppa toscana (here is the recipe!). Maybe I should try their pasta e fagiloi next time I go there.

Time to get off my Olive Garden soup tangent now. My mom has made pasta e fagiloi quite a few times and it's something that I've grown to love. At first I thought that pasta and beans sounded like a strange combination, but trust me, it's not. This thick soup has just the right amount of everything - carrots, garlic, beef, beans, tomatoes, seasonings and so much more. For a little history on this dish, when it first originated, it was a meatless dish. I am not sure when the meat was introduced to it, but if you are a vegetarian or just don't want to put the meat in it, you can totally take it out. No biggie. If you do, be sure to swap the beef broth for veggie broth. This soup couldn't be easier to make - it's one of those dump everything in, give it a stir and let it cook all day. The only real cooking you have to do is browning the meat, but that is super easy.  In 8-10 hours you will have a hot, filling and delicious meal waiting for you at home. Serve with a salad and a big piece of crusty bread and you are good to go.

*Bonus Tip: Since this recipe makes a ton of soup, I like to cook my noodles separately and add them in each serving. This will prevent the noodles from absorbing all the liquid in the soup and help them from getting overly mushy. But if overly mushy noodles is your thing, then go for it.  This would also go for freezing it as well.


meaty meat meat

veggies + garlic

don't forget to drain those beans!

everything in the pot

after slow cooking all day, dinner is served!

Pasta e Fagoli (adapted from

1 pound lean ground beef (a little more wouldn't hurt anything either)
1 onion, chopped (red or white - I used red)
5 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic
1 dash red wine (optional, and by dash I mean about 1/2 cup)
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (16 ounce) can white kidney beans, drained
3 (10 ounce) cans beef stock (beef broth is just fine here too)
3 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons pepper
5 teaspoons parsley (dried here is fine!)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
1 (20 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
8 ounces pasta (I used ditalini, but any small shaped pasta will work)
Brown beef in a skillet and drain the meat on a paper towel to get rid of any excess fat. Set aside. Add all other ingredients to the crock pot except pasta. Add in drained meat. Cook on low 8-10 hours. If you want to cook the pasta directly in the soup, add the pasta during last 30 min for one hour on low. If you want to cook your pasta separately, boil the pasta according to the package directions.

Don't be a fool - eat pasta fazool!

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