Pasta Fagioli is a delicious Italian soup that is great for meal prepping. Plus it can be cooked in the slow cooker making dinnertime a breeze. It’s a really hearty soup made with pasta and beans, and a bowl of this soup with some garlic bread is a delicious family meal.
The first time I learned about this soup was when we were on holiday in Orlando a few years ago. On our last day, we went to Magic Kingdom and had lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. Liam decided he wanted a bowl of pasta fagioli for his starter. It seemed something so random for him to choose – and I asked if he knew it was a soup, and was he sure he would like it? Turned out he eaten it before, when he went out to an Italian restaurant with his dad.
This soup is a traditional meatless Italian soup with pasta and beans; but in this recipe there is added beef mince. This is because when I made this dish for my family, I had a packet of mince that I needed to use, and was fed up of making the usual spaghetti bolognese! I remembered the pasta fagioli that Liam had on holiday, and decided to try and recreate it at home. I looked online for recipes and found several that use meat, as well as the traditional pasta and beans. So I tweaked what I found from various recipes and my pasta fagioli was born!
I’ve made this several times now, and have tweaked it to our family’s taste preference – something you may want to do when it comes to the dried herbs that are in this recipe. I would also be inclined to describe my version as a stew rather than a soup! But you could always add more stock to soupify it more!
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I meal prep this in advance – and keep it stored in the fridge for up to 3 days before cooking in the slow cooker. I brown off the ground beef with onion, and garlic, and allow it to cool before adding it to a large lidded container with canned chopped tomatoes, beef stock, canned beans, and lots of herbs.
On the day that I want us to have pasta fagioli for dinner, the prepped dish is dumped in the slow cooker and cooked on low for 6 hours – after 5 hours I add the dried pasta, and it really is such a deliciously simple meal. I used pasta shells as that is what I happened to have – but any small pasta shape is fine.
To add to the carb fest, I often make a round of homemade garlic bread using a ciabatta loaf. I cut the bread into slices, on the diagonal, and slather with garlic and herb butter – which is just some butter with a couple of crushed garlic cloves, and dried mixed herbs smushed into it. No measurements – I do it by eye. The garlic bread then gets popped into a hot oven for 10-15 minutes or until the bread is toasty and golden, and the garlic butter has melted – delish!
This really is a family favourite – I’ve not made it for a few weeks though, so I’ll have to add it back into rotation again!
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