Copy Cat Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Every year when the leaves start to change colors and then slowly fall from the trees and the wind begins to blow from the North, I get in a mood for soup, especially this Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup. My first introduction to Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup was just a couple months ago when my husband and I were travelling home from a trip to the beach. We stopped at an Olive Garden on the way home and after eating delicious, deep fried seafood all week, I was craving the simple comfort of soup and salad.
For some unknown reason, I have never ordered Olive Garden’s unlimited Soup and Salad. Being a soup and salad lover, I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to try that menu option! Needless to say since trying it, I have absolutely fallen in love with Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli Soup, so as a food blogger, my natural inclination was to make a copy cat version of it for us all to enjoy at home. I hope you love this Copy Cat Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup as much as we do! Pair this with an Olive Garden style salad and some bread sticks and you have a truly wonderful, warm and hearty feast that’s perfect for any cool fall evening.
Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Have you ever wondered what exactly “Pasta e Fagioli” is? This country bumpkin (speaking of myself here) didn’t even know how to pronounce the name when I ordered it at Olive Garden for the first time. If you’ve ever just pointed to the item on the menu, made a vague gesture with your hand, and then said “I want…that!” as the waitress leans over to see what exactly “that” is, then you know how I felt that day. At least I wasn’t that unfortunate individual that valiantly attempts to pronounced a word they have no idea how to say and then ends up embarrassing themselves and everyone around them.
I may have learned from past mistakes on that one. Just saying. Anyhow, back to the subject of Pasta e Fagioli. Pasta e Fagioli basically translates to “pasta and beans”. Sounds like the makings of a wonderful comfort food dish hu? As a bonafide southerner, I sure am fond of pasta and beans! While my Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup recipe has a little more than just pasta and beans for the ingredients, you will find it simple, delicious, and most of all, so easy to make!
Meat Options for Pasta e Fagioli
Let’s start our journey into the world of this wonderful Italian Soup with 1 pound of lean ground beef. Now, if you want to really make this soup authentic, try using Italian Sausage in place of the lean ground beef. I’m sure no self-respecting, true blue Italian would ever use ground beef in their Pasta e Fagioli, but (don’t tell them I said this!) I have never been able to handle the taste of Italian sausage. Something about the flavor doesn’t sit well with my taste buds, so I always switch out the sausage for ground beef or even ground turkey when I can. Place the lean ground beef in a six quart or larger dutch oven or stock pot and turn the heat to medium high.
How to make Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Once the meat has been added, season it with 1 tablespoon dried minced onion and 1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning. If you decided to be really authentic and use Italian Sausage for this recipe, you probably won’t need to add any additional seasonings. Use your spatula to break the meat into small pieces as it cooks and just continue browning it in the Dutch Oven or stock pot until it is completely cooked through.
Vegetables in Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Once your meat is cooked through, scoot it to one side in your pot and add in 1/2 cup shredded carrots and 1/2 cup diced celery. Now I know traditional Pasta e Fagioli typically just has pasta, beans, and meat along with some broth, however, we are going for the Copy Cat Olive Garden version here and they added carrots and celery. Don’t tell them I said their version of Fagioli isn’t really “authentic”.
Easy Pasta Fagioli Recipe
Once the shredded carrots and diced celery have been added to the cooked ground beef, add in one, 14.5 ounce can of red kidney beans and one 10.5 ounce can of Italian stewed tomatoes. Don’t drain the tomatoes before adding them in, but be sure and DO drain the beans before adding them.
Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli
Once the vegetables are all added to the cooked meat, add in 3 cups of marinara sauce. I used my own Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe and I highly suggest you do the same because it’s just awesome and full of good, wholesome ingredients and more importantly – no added sugar! If you’re really pressed for time and you don’t want to make your own marinara sauce or if you don’t already have a batch of mine made and in the freezer, I suggest using an organic, low or zero sugar marinara sauce.
Easy Pasta e Fagioli
After adding in the marinara sauce, you’ll want to add 28 ounces of tomato sauce. Yes, the base to this soup is very “tomato-y” and it’s also very delicious!
Now that almost all of your ingredients have been added in, go ahead and add in 2 cups of chicken broth. If you have homemade chicken broth, that’s always better than store bought but if you do have to purchase some from the store, I suggest using an organic, low sodium version. You can also use chicken bone broth or even vegetable broth if you prefer.
How to Season Pasta e Fagioli
All of your ingredients have been added and your soup is “soupy” enough, so now let’s just add in the seasonings! I like to add: 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic, 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes, 1 tablespoon dried basil flakes, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Once you’ve added in all of the seasonings, give everything a good stir, turn your heat to medium and place the lid on your Dutch oven or stock pot. Allow this soup to bubble and simmer and let the carrot and celery cook until tender while you tend to the pasta.
The Perfect Pasta for Pasta e Fagioli Soup
While using Fagioli pasta is perfect for this Pasta e Fagioli Soup recipe, no store near me had any Fagioli pasta (much to my dismay) so I had to settle for Cellentani pasta. Place 1/2 pound of uncooked Cellentani pasta in a pot and fill with water, salt, and a small amount of oil or butter to keep the pasta from sticking together. Boil pasta according to package directions until tender.
How to Make the Best Pasta Fagioli
At this point your Pasta Fagioli Soup should be bubbling and your vegetables should be tender. If the vegetables aren’t fork tender, allow the soup to cook a little longer. Once the vegetables are fork tender, add the pasta (without the pasta water) into the pot with the other ingredients. If you find that your soup needs to be more “soupy” once the pasta has been added, go ahead and add some of the pasta water until you get the consistency of the soup to your liking.
Perfect Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli
Stir the pasta and (if necessary) pasta water into the Pasta e Fagioli Soup and grab some bowls because this soup is ready to serve! If you don’t want to serve the soup right away, you can let it simmer on low on the stove to keep warm.
What to Serve with Pasta e Fagioli
I love to serve our Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli soup with an Olive Garden style salad and bread sticks or garlic cheese toast. Also, if you’re following a low carb lifestyle you can leave the pasta out of this Pasta e Fagioli and just serve it with an Olive Garden salad for a delicious and filling, low carb meal.
How to Store Leftover Pasta Fagioli Soup
If you have any leftover Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. You can also store the soup in an air tight container in the freezer for up to three months. In order to thaw the soup, just place it in the fridge overnight to thaw and then heat it in a sauce pan or in the microwave. I hope you have enjoyed your time in my kitchen today and that you will come back soon for another great recipe! Be sure to check out my Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe to use in this Pasta Fagioli Soup. I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy dining!
OTHER RECIPES YOU’LL LIKE:
Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup
This Copy Cat Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup is hearty and flavorful, perfect for a cold evening and delightful paired with garlic toast and an Olive Garden-style salad.
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1 tbsp dried minced onion
- 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 lb Cellentani or Fagioli pasta
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup celery diced
- 14.5 oz red kidney beans drained
- 10 oz Italian stewed tomatoes
- 3 cups marinara sauce recipe linked in blog post
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 28 oz tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic
- 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
- 1 tbsp dried basil flakes
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Place the ground beef along with the dried minced onion and Italian seasoning in a six quart or larger Dutch Oven or stock pot and use a spatula or meat muddler to break the meat into small pieces.
Brown the meat on medium high heat until fully cooked through and crumbled into tiny pieces.
Add all other ingredients EXCEPT the pasta and stir well.
Place the lid on the Dutch Oven or stock pot and allow to simmer on medium heat for 1-2 hours.
Once the carrots and celery are fork tender, reduce heat to low.
In a separate pot, boil the pasta on the stove according to package directions.
Once the pasta is cooked through, add it into the soup.
If you feel the soup needs more liquid, add as much of the pasta water as is needed.
Stir well and serve hot topped with shredded Mozzarella cheese, garlic toast, and an Olive Garden style salad. Enjoy!
Shared at Full Plate Thursday
Shared at Foodie Friday
Also Shared at Weekend Potluck
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