[Balboa, Cuidad de Panamá, Rep. of Panamá;08º 56'N/079º 33 W
My girlfriend, Jane, and I use to go to the Olive Garden to have their soup and salad and I really liked their Pasta E Fagioli soup and decided to try my hand at duplicating it. Generally Pasta E Fagioli does not have meat in it and it was a big favorite of Frank's [Italian-American] Mom for Friday meals (sin carne). Here is my version:
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 C Onion, diced
1 C Celery w/tops, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Large Carrot, julienne, to be added at the end (I cut carrot in half top from bottom, then use a vegetable peeler to get thin slices, then cut into strips with knife)
1 14.5 oz Can diced tomatoes with liquid
6 C Chicken Stock
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 t Oregano
1 lb. Italian Sausage without casing (I used 3 links of Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage)
1 19 oz Can Red Kidney Beans, drained
2 15 oz Cans Cannellini Beans, drained
1 t Red Pepper Flakes, optional
8 oz Pasta (I use a hardy pasta i.e., Fusilli, tubes, bow ties, elbow macaroni, etc.
Garnish with Parmesan Cheese, Optional
Serves 6 - 8
In Dutch Oven or large pan, saute onion, celery and garlic in the olive oil. Stir until translucent, then add sausage, break up sausage and cook until sausage almost done. Add tomatoes, basil and oregano, then add chicken stock. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste for seasonings, add red pepper flakes if you like more spice - we do) After the soup is cooked I add the carrots and wait about 15 minutes (they cook in the hot broth)
Cook pasta in boiling salted water as directed on package (do not over cook). Drain and set aside..you can add a little olive oil and basil to keep from sticking. The pasta will absorb the stock so I add as I use.
To serve put some pasta in a bowl, ladle soup over it, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve with Crusty Bread and Salad.
This recipe doubles or triples easily.