This is a hard recipe to give you. It’s hard because it’s one of those that I make with a pinch of this, a dash of that, and I just keep stirring, tasting and adjusting until I know it tastes right.
But, I’ve paid attention the last couple times I’ve made it, trying to get the portions down so that I can share this recipe with you.
I hope you will try it. I think you will like it. I absolutely love it. If you have ever had the Pasta Fagioli at Olive Garden, it’s a lot like that. Of course, mine is better because it’s homemade!
*updated in 2013 to include Italian Sausage*
1 1/2 lb ground sirloin
1 lb ground mild Italian sausage.
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1/2 cup diced celery
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup shredded (or julienned) carrots
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 can pinto beans (or great northern beans) (I use one of each)
1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 beef bouillon cube
~ 2 cups water
Houston House Seasoning
Grated parmesan/romano cheese blend
Ditalini pasta (about 1/2 lb)
Brown ground beef & sausage, seasoning lightly with Houston House Seasoning.
In a large Dutch oven, lightly sauté the onion, celery and peppers until the onions are transparent. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute – you don’t want the garlic to burn, so watch it carefully.
Add to the Dutch oven your carrots, tomatoes, beans, beef and enough water to get your soup to the consistency you like. I prefer mine more stew-y, but SuperMan likes his more broth-y.
Add about 2 Tbsp of Italian seasoning. You may need to add some salt/pepper, depending on how heavily you seasoned your meat when you browned it.
Bring the soup to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover, and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
Taste occasionally – you may need to add more salt, pepper or seasoning – depending on how strongly seasoned you like your soup.
About 10 minutes before serving, add about 2 Tbsp parmesan/romano blend to the soup and stir.
At the same time, boil your Ditalini pasta (you can also use small elbows or small shells) al dente. You don’t want it too soft because it will absorb more liquid in the soup.
Keep your pasta and soup separate until just before serving. I usually just put a few tablespoons of pasta in the bowl and ladle my soup on top of it. That way my pasta stays firm and doesn’t soak up all of the broth in the soup.
To store, keep your pasta separate – I usually store it in a zip top bag with a little olive oil drizzled on it – to keep them from sticking together.
You can also cook this in the crock pot, combining all the ingredients after you’ve browned the meat and sauteed the vegetables. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Keep the pasta separate until serving.
The ultimate Italian comfort food!