I love love LOVE Olive Garden’s Pasta Fagioli. I was so excited when I found this recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking (awesome site). It is one of the most delicious recipes ever. And it makes a lot. I mean… a lot. It fills up my 6 quart Crockpot nearly to the brim. So basically, it’s dinner for two, plus lunch for both of us for nearly the whole week. I generally make it on Sundays so we don’t have to worry about lunches for the majority of the week.
I pretty much do the recipe as-is, but I usually do slightly less Tabasco sauce because I’m not big on it being too spicy… even at the full amount, it’s not THAT spicy (and I’m a wimp), but I like it a little less. I also use ground turkey and add about three cups of fresh spinach to it, just to add in some more healthiness.
It’s actually pretty healthy and is only about 330 calories per serving, except it is quite high in sodium, unfortunately.
Crockpot Pasta Fagioli
– 1 lb lean ground beef (I use ground turkey)
– 1/2 large red onion, chopped
– 1 cup carrots, chopped
– 2 celery stalks, chopped
– 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with with juice
– 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
– 4 cups beef broth (I use the low sodium to help combat the sodium in the recipe)
– 1 jar (26 oz) pasta (marinara) sauce
– 2 teaspoons oregano
– 1 tablespoon Tabasco
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
– 1/2 cup dry pasta TO ADD AT END OF COOKING TIME (I use ditalini pasta to make it more like Olive Garden’s)
1. Brown the meat on stovetop, and drain well. Set aside and let cool a bit.
2. Chop the carrots, celery, and onions and add to the Crockpot (remember to use a 6 quart or larger, or cut the recipe down).
3. Drain and rinse both cans of beans and add to Crockpot.
4. Add the whole cans of tomatoes and the jar of pasta sauce.
5. Add the beef broth.
6. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, and Tabasco sauce.
7. Stir Crockpot.
8. Add in the meat, and stir.
9. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4… it really tastes better doing it for 8 hours, but it is still ok with 4.
10. The original recipe says to add the pasta and cook on low for another hour… I generally add it at hour 7 when cooking on low, or do wait until after the 4th hour of it on high and then cook on low for another hour. Either way works.
Note: It doesn’t look like much pasta when you put it in, but it really does swell a lot and will be the perfect amount.