This recipe is extremely close to Olive Garden's version of Pasta e Fagioli, and it's very healthy! What's more, both boys loved it. Ben says it's his second favorite soup after homemade chicken noodle.
It is a very thick - more like an Italian chili. You can add more V8 juice to make it brothier, especially when reheating leftovers. Serve with OG breadsticks.
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can great northern beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 12-ounce can V-8 juice (add more if soup is too thick)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 pound (1/2 pkg.) ditali pasta
1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat.
2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes.
3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
4. About 50 minutes into the simmering, cook the pasta in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.
5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more and serve with Parmesan cheese.