RECIPE | Pasta Fagioli

All you can eat soup, salad, and breadsticks at Olive Garden. That was a thing in our family, was it a thing for yours too? Those warm soft bottomless buttery breadsticks, dipped in soup (or Alfredo sauce, my mom would have swam in that Alfredo sauce if it was allowed) were every carb loving girls dream. Pasta Fagioli was the only soup we ever had and we all loved it. We’d watch them shave a pile of fresh parmesan on top and then dig in. It’s hearty and best described as an Italian chili, filled with beans, ground beef, Italian spices and then finished off with some pasta.

This soup is a great copycat recipe for that Olive Garden one that brings me back to my childhood. My mom made it often and every time I smell it simmering in my kitchen, it takes me back to family dinners at our big oak dining table, warming my heart as well as my belly.

One note on storing the leftovers: I prefer to keep the noodles separate and just add them to each individual serving when I reheat. If you choose to mix it all together the noodles will soak up all of the broth and just fall apart → and you’ll be left with some nasty, mushy pasta concoction. If the soup seems too thick when you are reheating, you can always add more broth. So, keep those noodles separate and enjoy your leftovers, ok?

Pasta Fagioli

Source: My Mama’s Kitchen


1 lb 96%/4% ground beef

3 carrots, shredded

1 onion, diced

1 ½ Tbsp minced garlic

2 cans of kidney beans, drained

2 cans of cannellini beans, drained

32 oz beef broth

32 oz spaghetti sauce (I use the 0SP Skinnyish Dish One Pot Marinara)

2 Tbsp Italian seasoning

8oz Ditalini pasta (small elbows also work)


On the stovetop, brown ground beef with carrots, onions, and minced garlic.

Add ground beef mixture and all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the dry pasta into a large crock pot.

Stir well and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Thirty minutes before you’re ready to eat, boil water and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and set aside.

Add the desired amount of noodles to each bowl of soup, top with parmesan, serve, and enjoy!

Note: This soup freezes really well. Much like when I serve it, I just portion out the freezer containers and then place a scoop of pasta on top (but don’t stir it in).

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