When I used to work at Olive Garden, Pasta E Fagioli soup was one of my favorites that they had. Their zuppa toscana soup was number one and their chicken gnocchi soup coming in third.
I always worked the lunch shift during the week and would be the opener. So I would get there a few minutes early, get all my opening duties done then sit down with a bowl of soup before my shift started. It was glorious.
It’s been many, many years since my Olive Garden days but I had a craving for this soup recently and decided to give it a go and re-create.
While this is not an exact replication, I think it’s pretty damn delicious and makes for a great comforting soup on a chilly fall or winter day.
This soup, like most, come together in about 45 minutes to an hour and with just one large stockpot.
Start by heating some olive oil in your large stockpot or cast iron Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add your crushed and minced garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes until they are fragrant.
Be careful to not burn them, they cook fast.
Add the diced carrots, onions, celery and cook for about 10 minutes to let the vegetables start softening. They do not need to be completely cooked through as the broth we’ll add later will cook them the rest of the way.
Add your tomato paste and fresh rosemary to the pot and stir everything to combine. Slowly stir in about 6 cups of water with some chickpeas and the rind of parmesan cheese.
If you don’t have a parmesan rind, that ok you can skip it but I would highly recommend you grab one as it adds so much flavor to your broth. Season your broth with salt and pepper, to your taste.
Bring everything to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer on low for close to 20 minutes until the vegetables are completely cooked through and very soft. Stir in your pasta and spinach leaves.
Let it simmer for additional 10 minutes or so to wilt the spinach and cook the noodles to al dente. Then remove the pot from the stove and remove the parmesan rind.
Stir in some fresh grated parmesan cheese and serve immediately with some toasted baguette.
Cozy up with this classic favorite and a good book or movie!
Pasta E Fagioli Soup
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 large carrots peeled and sliced
- 2 stalks celery sliced
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary minced
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas drained
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese fresh, plus rind
- 1 cup pasta
- 5 oz baby spinach
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant; about 2 minutes.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start softening; about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and rosemary.
- Add 6 cups of water, the chickpeas, and the parmesan rind. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetable are very soft.
- Add the pasta and spinach and stir to combine. Cook for additional 6-8 minutes until the spinach is wilted and pasta is al dente.
- Remove from heat, remove the parmesan rind, and stir in the fresh grated parmesan cheese, then serve.
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