I will be the first to admit that the first time I ever heard of or tasted this soup was at Olive Garden. I know it existed in Italy long before Olive Garden was ever around but it was Olive Garden that introduced me to this seriously yummy and hearty soup. I've made it several different ways over the years. It was all basically the same recipe, with small differences, and all of them were good in their own right. Then I started seeing recipes that were just like the ones I had but there was one big difference...jarred spaghetti sauce. Well, it was that jarred spaghetti sauce that would do it for me. It really helps add another layer of flavor to an already delicious soup. Who knew Prego would be so good for my soup?
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannellini beans (or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1 (26 oz.) container beef stock (or 3 cups)
1 jar (25 oz.) spaghetti sauce
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (see cook's notes below)
Salt, to taste (about ½ tbsp. kosher salt)
Brown and crumble ground beef. Drain excess grease.
Finely diced onions, celery, carrots...
Don't forget to drain and rinse your beans.
Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker (except for pasta) and stir.
Set slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours
During the last 30 minutes or so of cooking, add in the pasta and stir.
Cook’s Notes: Pasta likes to absorb a lot of the liquid so if you like your soup a bit more soupy, be prepared to have an extra can of beef broth handy. You can add it in towards the end. Also, another way to avoid this is to precook your pasta first and then add it in at the end. Also, you can do this without a slow cooker. Follow the instructions above, but instead of adding to a slow cooker, just put all ingredients in a large pot (except for the pasta). Cook over low heat for about an hour. During the last 15-20 minutes, add in the pasta.
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