Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Soup is finest in the fall - "Copycat" Pasta e fagioli soup!

Its a beautiful, sunny fall day here and soup has been on our menu a lot lately. I love soup because its easy, tasty, hot and SO flexible. I have been to the Olive Garden ONCE, while my hubby and I were dating, and while I'm sure their soup is tasty, I don't know that I've ever had their "pasta e fagioli" soup. The recipe, however, boasts that it is a "copycat", so I won't dispute it.

Ok, I'm not sure if EVERYONE on pinterest has their favorite blogs for things like recipes, decorating, etc, but for me when I'm searching for a recipe, I have my fav "trusted" pins that I will click on first - above all others - because I know they make tasty food. One of them is Damn Delicious and another is Cooking Classy (which is where this recipe has been adapted from). I'm not much for curse words, but I've come to give this a little leeway - the recipes are just that good, and generally they are pretty "clean" as well.

Naturally, since I give all recipes the once-over, this oh-so-delicious soup is pretty simple and easy to make and my family (yes, kiddos too!) have found it to be a favorite. I like to think of it as kind of an Italian chili (we don't put noodles in our chili - I know there is much debate on this so I'll just leave it at that) and in our version of this soup we use organic brown rice noodles (whatever shape we might have on hand) to make it a gluten free dinner in our house. I also make sure to buy fresh ground sweet italian pork sausage that is not in casing and is nitrite/nitrate/MSG/preservative free (locally, it's found at the fresh meat section, you may have to look around). If I have fresh tomatoes, I toss em in. If not, I use organic canned tomatoes as the recipe calls for.

For the full recipe and great, detailed photos, please visit DamnDelicious (one of my favorite food blogs of all time, seriously) :)

1c organic brown rice pasta
2tbsp organic coconut oil, more or less - you could use organic olive oil, careful not to heat it on high :)
1# "clean" sweet italian sausage (you could use hot, whatever your family prefers)
3 cloves garlic, minced, or a strong shake of garlic powder
1 onion, diced
3-4 carrots, diced (peel if you like, we wash and eat in our house)
1 head of celery (more or less, depending how much you like - I toss a bunch in!)
1-2 small zucchini or summer squash, diced (if not organic, I usually peel, otherwise I leave the peel on)
3c chicken broth (homemade is best!), or water and a spoonful of organic "better than bouillon"
1 16oz can organic tomato sauce
1 15oz can organic diced tomatoes
1tsp each dried basil and dried oregano
3/4tsp dried thyme
"Real" salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 can organic red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can organic great northern beans (or canelli beans, or whatever organic white beans you have), drained and rinsed

Heat oil in large soup pot and brown italian sausage about 3-5 min, crumbling as you cook it. Then (I always just leave it in the same pot), add garlic, onion, carrots, zucchini and celery, cooking until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings and 1 c water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add pasta. Simmer about 15-20 min, until vegetables are tender.

Stir in beans and simmer until everything is warm. Enjoy!

NOTE: I sometimes let this soup simmer longer, kind of like chili, I find that it doesn't hurt the flavor and things hold up just find. However, adding beans before the last 5-10 min or so will make them more mushy and they'll be more likely to fall apart in the soup.

Really, For the full recipe and great, detailed photos, please visit DamnDelicious

Question time: does your family like soup? what is your favorite soup for fall?

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