It’s been unseasonably cold this year in my area and let’s just say I’m a cold weather wimp. When the weather turns cold, my body craves soup! Soup is just so warm and comforting. A couple of winters ago, I introduced you to my favorite Chicken Pot Pie Soup – which remains my most popular recipe on the blog for two years running (yay!). Another family favorite is my Loaded Baked Potato Soup and if you have some leftovers to use up after the holidays, why not try this Leftover Ham Chowder. All of these are great choices to chase away the winter blues. But today – today we’re talking about Pasta e Fagioli Soup. Yes, your favorite Olive Garden Soup. Wait until I tell you how easy this soup is to make, you’re going to kick yourself! It’s only minutes of prep work and comes together with full flavor in just 30-minutes. Yes – 30-minutes!
So, like I said, this soup is super-easy to put together and the whole thing takes just 30-minutes. I boil the pasta separately as I’m sauteing the meat and vegetables in the stock pot. So easy, right? First, you start by browning the Italian sausage. Generally, I buy the bulk loose Italian sausage but this week my store had only the links. That’s okay – just buy the links (usually 5 or 6 to a package depending on the brand) and just remove it from the casing. The casings are not tied on the ends, so just hold it on one end and push it out of the other end like a tube of toothpaste. As it cooks it becomes easier to break the sausage up into smaller chunks while it’s cooking. Then drain any excess fat and set aside. You can use turkey sausage, chicken sausage, or even tofu crumbles if you prefer. Leaving the meat out all together makes a great vegetarian soup your whole family will love. It’s then an Italian Minestrone Soup with pasta and beans. Equally delicious!
Ok – so the first step is to brown the meat and set it aside. Then chop the onions, carrots, and celery and get them into the same heavy stock pot. Cook the vegetables until the onions are soft – about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.
After the onions are tender, add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning blend, Italian sausage, and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Then stir in the beans until heated through. If you are serving a crowd, it’s probably safe to add the pasta. If not, keep it separate. The pasta soaks up the broth over time.
This makes a big, hearty pot of soup in so little time. I serve this with some crusty bread and a fresh garden salad. Seriously, it makes a lot of soup. There’s plenty enough to serve 6-8 people or you might choose to bring some to a friend or maybe your Mother-in-Law – which is what I did. Share the happiness!
Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Yield 6 -8 servings
This easy, Pasta e Fagioli soup is hearty and comforting and tastes so much better that the restaurant. It's economical, too. Serves 6-8 people.
- 1 cup ditalini pasta, regular, whole wheat or gluten-free
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, loose or with the casings removed
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed well
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomatoes, diced
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning Spice Blend [See Note 1]
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and set aside.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the stockpot. Stir in garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
- Whisk in chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian Seasoning Spice blend, and Italian sausage; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in the beans until just heated through - about 3 minutes.
- If serving the full soup with no anticipated leftovers, add the pasta to the soup and stir to combine. Otherwise, I add mine to the bowls at serving. Pasta continues to soak up the soup broth at it sits in the refrigerator.
1). Italian Seasoning Spice blend is sold where the dried oregano and basil are sold. It is not meant to be confused with dry salad dressing mix.