A couple years ago, I decided that I could definitely re-create this soup. It seemed simple enough: just some meat, carrots, beans and noodles. I wasn't very good at improvising back then, so I searched online for one of those copycat recipes. To my delight, I was able to find one on the website cdkitchen.
Pasta e Fagioli
adapted from cdkitchen and Olive Garden
***CAUTION: If you get the recipe from the cdkitchen website, make sure you adjust the serving size - the recipe posted makes 9 quarts. Unless you're having ALOT of people over, or plan on freezing it, 4.5 quarts is more than enough***
1/2 teaspoon Oil
1 pound Ground beef
6 ounces Onion; chopped
7 ounces Carrots; slivered
7 ounces Celery; diced
24 ounces Tomatoes; canned, diced
1 cup cooked Red Kidney beans
1 cup cooked White kidney beans
44 ounces Beef stock
1 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons Parsley; (fresh chopped)
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce We were out of tabasco, so I omitted)
24 ounces Spaghetti sauce
4 ounces dry pasta Shell macaroni; or other pasta
(I also added two cloves of garlic for good measure and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for an extra kick)
Sauté beef in oil in large 10-qt. pot until beef starts to brown.
Add onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Drain and rinse beans and add to the pot. Also add beef stock, oregano, pepper, Tabasco, spaghetti sauce, and noodles. Add chopped parsley. Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes. (I usually make this in the early afternoon and let it simmer until dinnertime, adding the macaroni about 15 minutes before serving)
Servings: 9 bowls
This soup really hits the spot on cold and rainy days. Since that has what it's been all week, it was perfect. I made this on Sunday and it lasted us 3 dinners, plus I had it for lunch for 3 days. In the past, I've frozen half and it held up well. This is one of my go-to recipes when I don't feel like trying something new, because I know it always comes out really well.