(Weight Watchers Friendly Crock Pot Cooking, Day #5)
This Olive Garden Slow Cooker Pasta Fagioli Recipe is just slightly adapted from Stephanie’s A Year of Slow Cooking version. (She adapted it from a recipe for Olive Garden Pasta E Fagioli on Food.com)
It got lots of rave reviews on her website and facebook page, where she posted it recently. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to give it a try.
I had Olive Garden’s Pasta Fagioli for the first time a few weeks ago and liked it a lot. So, I was curious to see how this Olive Garden Slow Cooker Pasta Fagioli Recipe would compare.
I made a few changes. Because it seemed plenty tomatoey, I eliminated 1 can of diced tomatoes. And I cut back on the hot pepper sauce. In Stephanie’s write up, she said the the taste of the Tabasco came through, which didn’t seem like a good thing to me.
I went back to the original recipe on Food.com and discovered that it calls for 1-1/2 teaspoons of Tabasco for twice as much soup as Stephanie’s recipe. She says to use 1 tablespoon. I cut it back to just 3/4 teaspoon.
I also cooked the pasta separately and added it at serving time. I sometimes hate the way dry pasta swells and absorbs so much liquid when you add it, uncooked, directly into soups.
I know this takes a little extra work, but to me it’s worth it, at least when I have the time and energy.
If this seems not worth the effort, during the last half hour of cooking add 1 cup dry pasta right into your slow cooker and cook until tender, 15 to 30 minutes more.
I used my Ninja 3-in-1 Crock Pot Cooking System, to make this Olive Garden Slow Cooker Pasta Fagioli so I could brown the meat and slow cook the soup without dirtying a separate skillet. I love this feature of the Ninja.
This Olive Garden Slow Cooker Pasta Fagioli recipe makes 10 (1-1/4 cup) servings. According to my calculations, each serving has 238 calories and *5 Weight Watchers PointsPlus.
We all loved this hearty and delicious soup. It’s definitely one I will be making again.
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef, browned and drained
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 can (14 to 15 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 can (14 to 15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (14 to 15 ounces) white beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 jar (24 to 26 ounces) tomato-basil marinara or pasta sauce
- 1-1/2 teaspoons oregano
- ¾ teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1-1/4 cups dry pasta (I used fusilli, but shells or ditalini would work well), cooked separately according to the package directions.
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, optional for serving
- Grated Parmesan, optional for serving
- Stir together the cooked and drained ground beef, onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, beans, broth, pasta sauce, oregano, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper in a 6 to 7-quart slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 7 hours, or until the vegetables are as tender as you like them.
- When ready to serve, stir the cooked pasta into the soup. Taste the soup and adjust the salt and herbs to suit your tastes.
- Serve with grated parmesan and a sprinkling of fresh parsley if desired.
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*PointsPlus® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.
Linked at Living Well Spending Less