It was book club last week (or as we affectionately call ourselves, The Almost Famous Book Club) and as always the food did not disappoint (yes, we actually discussed our book choices this time). From perfect blend wassail to fresh flavorful salads, savory soups and finally fabulous desserts, decadent but not overdone, we all feasted like queens.
I made this delicious Pasta e Fagioli Soup, a recipe very similar to Olive Garden’s signature soup (copycat recipe found here at Damn Delicous food blog). I used ground turkey and Italian-sausage as the solid lean protein base with the obligatory carrots, celery, onions and garlic, tomatoes sauced and stewed, and finally seasoned with basil, oregano and thyme. I added the cute little pasta ditalini along with the canned beans at the end so they did’t get too mushy. However, even when eaten days later, the flavors and textures were still exceptionally tasty, so don’t get too worried if the pasta swells a bit with time.
Everyone loved this soup. It’s such a perfect recipe for our freezing cold weather we’re experiencing this week in the northern west states. It’s a keeper to be made multiple times this fall and winter. Hope you will too!
- Pasta e Fagioli Soup
- 1 cup ditalini pasta
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
- 1 pound extra lean ground turkey breast
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cups chicken broth (I used Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base)
- 1 (24-ounce) container tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce (I used Pomi tomato sauce)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-seasoned ready-cut stewed tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish
- 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 turkey Italian sausage and ground turkey to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks.
- 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 or spaghetti sauce, stewed tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme 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.
- Stir in pasta and beans until heated through.
- Top with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.