Last Sunday, after a particularly strenuous day of shopping for Megan’s new school stuff, she Kyle and I stopped into the Olive Garden for a quick dinner. Megan is a soup lover, so I recommended the Pasta Fagioli. She devoured it and took advantage of their “bottomless bowl” policy. It looked pretty simple, so this morning I made it. Pretty much anything I see in a restaurant, I can replicate in the kitchen. In this case, I didn’t make the traditional recipe (including celery), but guessed the ingredients based on how it looked. (Note: Tasting helps one to nail the shopping list.) First, I browned an onion, mushrooms, green and red peppers, followed by some ground sirloin after removing the veggies. To the browned beef, I added six cups of water and three Knorrs beef bullion cubes for stock. To that I added two cans of crushed tomatoes, a bag of frozen peas/corn/green beans, some garlic, cannelloni beans, and one pound of al dente Barilla Ditalini.
At some point in the process, perhaps while Kyle was “testing” the ground sirloin, he hit the brew with enough salt to mummify an Egyptian queen. The final concoction’s a tad salty, but a nice hearty soup for a cool, damp November day.