Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pasta Fagioli, #Copycat Olive Garden-style #crockpot #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: I know what you are saying: When is this poor woman going to get her oven back so she can get off the crockpot kick? For almost two months, I desperately wanted the answer to that question, too. (As of last week, I have one, yay!)
Meanwhile, the crockpot recipes continued…this time with a delicious knock-off of Olive Garden-style* pasta fagioli.

My version was lower sodium (you can read more about that below,) but quite spicy and delicious (she said modestly.)

1 1/2 pound ground beef
One large onion, chopped
Three large carrots, chopped
Four stalks of celery, sliced
One heaping teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
6 to 8 leaves of fresh basil
2 teaspoons oregano
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes and sauce
20 oz spaghetti sauce (I used Gia Russo's Hot Sicilian)
2 and ½ cups low sodium beef broth (or 3/5 box of regular broth and add some water)
1 cup Ditalini pasta
One can white or red kidney beans, low-sodium, rinsed
Fresh spinach, about 4 oz
Parmesan for grating on top

Brown the beef and drain grease.
Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot, up to the point of the pasta.
Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours.

During last 30 min on high or 1 hour on low, add pasta, beans and spinach.
Serve with crusty bread and grated Parmesan if you wish.

*Soup in restaurants is generally very salty. So naturally I made some adjustments to the recipes I saw on Pinterest.

This entire pot of soup contains roughly 3500 mg of sodium. There are probably 10 servings in the pot, so 350 mg per serving. (This is calculated from the tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, and beef broth. Read your labels carefully, as these ingredients vary greatly in sodium content. The celery, carrots, and spinach also contain naturally occurring sodium. Tabasco sauce, 35 mg per teaspoon. Ground beef, 450 mg per 1.5 lbs.)

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Oh! I love a new stove. Can't wait to see it.

    1. The *funny* thing is Tonya, there was nothing wrong with the oven after all--except for the knob setting the temperature!! After two months, and three appliance stores, I have the same oven back in place with one new dial:)

  2. I don't know how you could have been without an oven for so long. Kudos to you. But it sure have you the chance to try new recipes for the crock pot which is a good thing. My husband and I love minestrone soup with lots of freshly grated cheese on top. Enjoyed today's post a lot. Thank you.

    1. You are very welcome! When I had to bake (Xmas cookies and scones), I went over to a good neighbor friend's place with the dough all made and baked them there. Then he got a share of the spoils, so everyone was happy:)

  3. How frustrating that it took that long to figure out it was the knob. However, we've all benefited from your crock-pot recipes! I tried your wild rice & chicken soup and added some highly browned mushrooms to it... it's my new favorite soup!!! I'll have to try this recipe too!

  4. I love this, Lucy/Roberta! I also had a rough ride with a dead oven last year and would have loved this then. Oven or not, we'll make it now in the slow cooker.


  5. The first I ever heard of this dish was when I listened to Dean Martin sing "That's Amore" as a kid, and wondered what the heck "pasta fazool" was ("when the stars make you drool just like'a pasta fazool"). Years later I learned this was pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans). And just today, Googling the dish out of curiosity, I discovered that Dino's version comes from the Neapolitan word for beans, "fasule," which the Italian Americans of his generation pronounced "fazool." Ya learn something everyday. Now I have to make this delicious recipe!

    1. I knew I would get the spelling wrong--it's tricky! You are a font of knowledge:). I have your new book sitting beside me in the queue...

    2. No, the internet is a font of knowledge; I (like all good research attorneys) just know how to look things up. :)

  6. This looks rib tickling good. Long on flavor and short on sodium.
    The whole thing about the oven was the knob?!!! How...silly is that? (I'm trying to be polite)