Thursday, January 17, 2013

Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup Copycat Recipe

I love good hearty soups all year round, but everyone knows they're best during the cold months.
Speaking of cold, I had forgotten how cold Arkansas can get.  
We've had multiple nights in the upper-teens the past few weeks......I don't know if Virginia ever got that cold the entire nine years we lived there.

I have love the Olive Garden's Soup and Salad all you can eat lunch for years....and Pasta e Fagioli has always been my favorite.  (although never mind asking me to say it properly. I just point to it on the menu. Don't laugh.)

So I was super excited when I saw that Jaclyn from Cooking Classy had posted her version of the soup.  I had to try it out the very next week.  

We absolutely loved it.  
So positively delicious.  While I haven't eaten soup at the Olive Garden in a few years, I am certain that this soup is superior. And it's healthy, too.  
Thank goodness we liked it, because this made a huge batch.  
Grant's only complaint about it was the red kidney beans.  He thought they looked really nice, but
they're just not a bean he cares for too much.  So next time I might
substitute in another bean for him....but I liked the kidney beans just fine.  

Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup Copycat Recipe (adapted slightly from Cooking Classy)

2 lbs lean ground turkey, ground beef, or Italian sausage
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 large carrots, diced
3-4 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
32 oz. tomato sauce (approximate - can be a little more or less)
1 quart vegetable broth (beef or chicken work well also)
1-1/2 cups water
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. dried majoram
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-1/2 cups ditalini pasta, uncooked
1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
Parmesan or Romano cheese, for serving


Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large stock pan over medium high heat.  Crumble in ground meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until no pink remains.  Drain meat and set aside.  In the same pan, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil and saute carrots, celery, and onion over medium-high heat until tender.  Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.  Reduce heat to low; add tomato sauce, broth, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, cooked meat, and salt and pepper to taste. 
Cover with lid and allow to simmer at a low boil 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until veggies are soft.  Add pasta to pot and cook for 5 minutes.  Add beans and cook 5 minutes longer, or until pasta is tender.  
Serve warm with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, if desired.   

Note: The longer the soup sits, the more liquid the pasta will absorb.  Thin it with additional broth if desired. 
I ended up adding an extra 8 oz can of tomato sauce with a couple of cups of water and a little more spices to the leftovers the second day, as it had become more like a casserole.  It was still super delicious. 


  1. I ADORE this soup at Olive Garden - it's pretty much the only thing I ever order there if we eat there... definitely saving this one! :)

  2. Gonna try it ;)

  3. This sounds really good. I've been wanting to try out some new comfort foods this fall/winter. I'm sure I'll give this one a whirl. Thanks!

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