Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli
Menu Description: "White and red beans, ground beef, tomatoes and pasta in a savory broth."
It's amazing how many lousy clone recipes for this delicious chili-like soup are floating around. Cooking message boards, and questionable sites that claim to have "actual restaurant recipes" have for years passed off numerous versions that disappoint home chefs. Other formulas leave out major ingredients that you can clearly see in the real thing, like the carrots, or ground beef, or two kinds of beans. Others don't even get the pasta right—it's clearly ditalini pasta, which are short little tubes. If you want the same taste of the original at home, try my Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli copycat recipe below. It may be the only one that will live up to a side-by-side taste test. Beware of imitation imitations!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
- 1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
- 3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans (with liquid)
- 1 15-ounce can great northern beans (with liquid)
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 12-ounce can V-8 juice
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 pound (1/2 pkg.) ditalini pasta
1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat.
2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes.
3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
4. About 50 minutes into the simmering, cook the pasta in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until the pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.
5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more and serve.
For over 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original copycat recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.