Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli

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I love Italian food – I love learning how to cook this delicious kind of food in our home, at much cheaper price than eating out!  We rarely go to Olive Garden, but we went awhile back, and since this pregnant woman here has become obsessed with soups as of late, I ordered this tasty starter.  It’s an amazing and delicious twist on the original Italian countryside dish.  Pasta e Fagioli is a combination of pasta and beans – hence why it was prevalent across the country, from the Mediterranean to the Alps – many people could afford to use beans for sustenance in replacement of meat, especially in the lean winter months of Italy.

Olive Garden’s recipe includes a generous amount of ground beef, adding a richness and full-bodied flavor to the traditional soup.  I used Todd Wilbur’s copycat recipe from topsecretrecipes.com, the link can be found here. 

This soup was such a huge success with my family… I made a ton of it so that we could have plenty of leftovers – and it was still gone too fast for me!  I made some modifications for my picky eater 4-year-old, instead of julienned carrots I used carrot puree – you really cannot taste it with the tomato sauce, yet you still get the vitamin-enriched soup.  I also (this is a true cook’s confession here… very sad) omitted the beans so that my picky eater wouldn’t freak out at the site of them in a pasta dish.  I’m pretty sure this downgrades our Pasta e Fagioli, to simply “Spaghetti Soup” or something horrendous!  Oh well.

Oh for that day that he’ll be more open to interesting things other than chicken nuggets & macaroni and cheese!

Moving on, the recipe is found at the link, and keep in mind you really can modify it in whatever way you wish, it is traditionally used with ditali (at least, in America), but in true Italian countryside fashion, use whatever noodles you have handy!  I used egg noodles simply because my 4-year-old loves them.

Happy Eating!

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