Saturday, March 2, 2013

pasta fagioli

This soup is really popular at the Italian restaurant chain Olive Garden- I know this because I almost always get soup, salad and bread sticks when I've been there. It's not hard to make at all, but it packs a lot of flavor.  It's really easily converted into a vegetarian soup as well, but I heartied ours up with ground turkey and chicken stock rather than vegetable.
Anyway, I always like making soup because there's leftovers for days. Ed doesn't like that about it, but he has to suffer through anyway. I usually freeze some of the leftovers so that we don't get tired of it. I use turkey rather than beef, because of the cost and the taste. I ground it as fine as possible while I was cooking it the pan so that it would stretch father in the pot.
This is a simple soup- stock, tomato sauce, veggies and meat. No roux to develop flavors here, so all of your flavor is going to come from seasonings, herbs and reduction. Soups are always better when they've had time to simmer or to sit over night. So, even though this soup comes together in less than 30 minutes, I always cook my soups for as longs as possible.
As I mentioned, there's no roux in this soup, so it thickens when you add the beans and it will thicken more as it simmers. You can always add water or more stock to stop the soup from becoming a stew. Keep in mine that noodles will be added to this soup and they will soak up more and more liquid as it sits. That includes time spent in the fridge. But, more time spent in the fridge means more development of flavors, so it's totally worth it.
Pasta Fagioli
1 lb ground turkey
3 cups chicken stock
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. cannelini beans
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup water
6 oz. ditalini pasta
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Grated parmesan, to taste

Cooke onion, garlic, carrots and celery in a large stock in butter until vegetables are tender and translucent. Add chicken stock, tomato sauce and water to vegetables and simmer for 15 minutes. Add beans and cook an additional 5 minutes on a simmer. In a separate pan, cook ground turkey until cooked through and add to pot. Bring up to a low boil and add pasta. Cook until pasta is cooked through. Add seasonings and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve with grated parmesan and enjoy!