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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Copycat Cooking: Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli

I'm a home-cooking convert. To be specific, I used to live for eating out all the time in restaurants. Post-college and now, living on my own, I've begun to see the awesome that is cooking at home. It's cheaper, healthier, and usually way better tasting than anything I get in a restaurant.

That being said, I still have some favorite dishes that I like to eat out for. Hugo's in Studio City's Mac n Cheese, Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, and Olive Garden (for a guilty-pleasure pasta meal).

However, I've also discovered a great recipe or two for Copycat Cooking. There are ton of wonderful recipes referred to as "copycat" or "clone" for many of your favorites around the internet.

Tonight, check out a fantastic recipe for Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli that makes a lovely crock pot meal that lasts for days. I personally think it rivals, if not outshines, the Olive Garden's take on it. (And to boot, it's way cheaper than a trip to the place where everyone is family).

Copycat Pasta e Fagioli
excerpted from Recipezaar, adjusted by me

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4-5 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cans diced canned tomatoes
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 2 cans white kidney beans
  • 2 cans of beef stock
  • 3 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powders 
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 5 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
  • 1 1/2 jars Classico Tomato & Basil Sauce
  • 1 lb of shell noodles (or any other shape you'd like)
  • Fresh parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  •  Cook up all the ground beef
  •  Mix all the ingredients above (except for the noodles) in a large crock pot. Add ground beef, stir, and set to "Low" for at least 5-6 hours.
  • 15 minutes before you're ready to eat, cook 1 lb of shell noodles.
  • To serve, place amount of noodles desired in your soup bowl. Add soup on top of noodles. Top soup/noodles with delicious, freshly grated parmesan!
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers (there will be a lot).



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