Pasta e Fagioli Soup

I really can't complain about winter this year.  Mother nature has been kind.  I keep thinking that She is apologizing in some way for last year.  

Last years winter in Utah was relentless!  I think we had snow from October through June.  We ran through blizzards and rain storms.  We ran on sheets of ice and through thick slush.  I cannot count how many cars completely drenched us as they passed by.  I'm pretty sure they went out of their way to hit puddles of water and slush when they saw 4 brilliant, young blonde's running through such treacherous conditions. The winter of 2011 was not a great season to be training for spring marathons. 

 We survived.  Right girls?

I can't complain when I look out my back window and see a gray day like today.  We haven't seen too many snow days this winter.  Living in a desert we are grateful for every drop of water we get.  

Cold winter days call for soup.  

This soup is probably one of just  few recipes that I make where I use canned goods.  I can't remember the last time I opened a can of Campbell's for anything.  This recipe is a quick "dump" soup that is warming and hearty.  I'm thinking this would be a hearty enough soup to hold up to the Superbowl.

Confession.  I never watch the Superbowl.  I am a failure and sitting down and putting my feet up for a football game.  There is just too much I'd rather be doing.  Like eating!

Take a look at all the canned and packaged foods I'm going to use.

You will need:  1 lb of ground beef (super lean)
1 onion
3 celery stalks
1 cup shredded carrots
3 cloves, garlic
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 12-oz can V-8 juice
2-4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Italian blend seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups uncooked pasta, such as ditalini or elbow macaroni

In a large pot, brown the ground beef.  If you are using extra-lean you will not need to drain the fat off.  If you are using a high fat ground beef, you will want to drain off any fat.

Slice the onion in half.

Make several slices in the onion.

Slice through the middle.  Then cut into a small dice.

Add the onions to the ground beef.

Chop celery.

I like to include the celery leaves as well.

Add the the beef and onions.

You can shred your own carrots.  I like the matchstick size.  I can grab a handful and throw them into smoothies and no one ever knows.  

Add one cup shredded or diced carrots.

Stir together and cook until the onions are soft and tender.

You will need a can opener.  

Drain and rinse the beans.  I don't like using the liquid that the beans are canned in.  I think the liquid is too thick and slimy.

Add the beans to the pot.


Add the diced tomatoes.

The second can of diced tomatoes.

The can of tomato sauce.

Pour in the V-8 juice.

Add the minced garlic.  

Note:  I add my garlic at the end because I like a strong garlic flavor.  You can saute the garlic with the onions, celery and carrots if you prefer a more subtle flavor.  

Add the red pepper flakes.  Yeeessss, this will add some heat.  This can be omitted, but I wouldn't.

Add the Italian seasoning blend.  This is basically dried oregano, thyme, parsley, fennel and basil.

Salt and pepper.

Can you see why I call this a "dump" soup?


If you like a thick fagioli you can leave the soup like it is.  

I like a lot of broth so I'm adding about 3 cups of beef broth.  

Cover and let simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Stir occasionally.  

Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and add salt.

Add about 1 1/2 cups of ditalini pasta.  Elbow macaroni works just as well.

Cook until al dente.  Meaning not cooked all the way through.  Leave a bit of a bite to the pasta.

Drain the cooked pasta and rinse in cold water.

Drizzle with just a tiny bit of oil and give it a toss.

Set aside until ready to use.

Hint:  I don't put the pasta into the soup.  BECAUSE the pasta ends up sucking up all the liquid and then the soup becomes a my opinion.  You just might like a thick blob.  

I add a bit of pasta into the bowl and then ladle the hot soup over top of the pasta.  

Top with fresh basil and ribbons of Parmegiano Reggiano.  


 Hearty and warming on your coldest winter's day.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

1 lb ground beef, extra lean
1 onion, diced
1 cup carrots, shredded or diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
2  14-5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 12-oz can V-8 juice
2-4 cups beef broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 cups uncooked pasta ditalini or elbow macaroni
fresh basil
Parmegiano Reggiano

In a large pot brown the ground beef.  Add the onions, celery and carrots.  Cook until the onions are soft.  Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, V-8 juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.

Meanwhile,  bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add about 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta.  Cook until al dente.  Drain pasta and rinse in cold water.  Set aside until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, add a small amount of pasta in each bowl.  Ladle hot soup over.  Garnish with fresh basil and Parmegiano Reggiano, if desired.

Serves 8

Perfect for a Superbowl party.  Batter up...oh wait, that's baseball. 


  1. I just had lunch but this made me hungry all over again, especially because it's -26°C outside at the moment.

    1. Oh my gosh! I won't ever complain about Utah temp ever again. Stay warm!

  2. Perfect for cold winter day...Looks very comforting


    1. From my favorite Indian cook. Check out her site for fabulous Indian recipes. I love them.

  3. I made this soup last night and it was delicious and perfect for a rainy day. It's definately a keeper in our house. I may even try it with italian sausage next time and add even more pepper flakes. My husband loved it.
    Thank you!

  4. Italian sausage is fabulous in this recipe. I have tried it both ways. My husband prefers hot Italian sausage. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Just thought I'd let you know you have beef broth in the first set of ingredients but not at the bottom. Trying your soup tonight!

    1. Thanks for your watchful eye. I have corrected the mistake.

  6. This soup looks amazing!!! I'll have to try this soon!

  7. This looks yummy! We just went from 75-80° days, to 50° days here in St. Louis, so I went in search of a new and easy soup recipe. I think I found it. Looking forward to making this tomorrow night. :)

    1. This is such a warming and hearty soup. I hope your family loves it. thanks so much for your kind comment.

  8. My mom used to use salt pork instead of ground beef, but nowdays it's hard to find good salt pork. Even though it is summer, this just looks so very appealing to me...memory lane I guess. Thanks.

    1. Salt pork would be amazing. You are right it is tough to find salt pork at all around my parts. Thanks for your comment. Memory lane is fun to travel down :)

  9. This recipe looks yummy! I think I'll try it. I think the recipe portion at the bottom (printable) is missing the first few steps. It starts out with "add the onion. . ." I noticed this because I printed the bottom part, but couldn't figure out where it talked about browning the ground beef.

    1. Why yes you are right. How about that. I have made the correction. Thank you so much for catching that.

  10. I just made your soup and am looking forward to trying it for lunch tomorrow! I love this soup at Olive Garden and was looking for an easy recipe to simulate it, especially now that it's getting cold in Syracuse. The pictures were great to follow also. Thanks for sharing!

    By the way, garlic is missing from the top list of ingredients.

    1. Thank you for your comment. It's a very hearty and warming soup. Thanks for proof reading for me. I need you all to keep me on my toes I will correct that problem.

  11. I made this recipe and it was great. I used Italian sausage and did not use a lot of broth. It was wonderful. Thank you!

  12. Fixed this Friday eve. to serve after church. Very tasty- my Italian husband liked it quite well too! Thanks for another good recipe; I can always count on you.

    1. Thank you so much Eddi. You have made my day. I hope you can count on me again.