1. Minimal ingredients that can be found in any local supermarket
2. Spices that are (normally) found in my cabinet (again, nothing that would force me to shop at a specialty store - I'm too lazy for that nonsense)
3. At least 3 out of 4 of my family members will consider it edible and delicious...I do not have to be one of them, but it helps.
My family & I love Olive Garden but we don't go often --- too expensive for four people & we always over indulge, feeling like we need to be rolled out, rather than walk out on our own. So when I found this recipe, originally titled "Knockin' Off the OG - Pasta Figioli, I was intrigued. Even better was when I realized that it was a crockpot recipe...love the dump & go recipes that don't taste like a hodge podge of nonsense and I LOVE OG's soup.
Here it is: Nicole's Version of Pasta Fagioli (because I broke rule number two and did not have all of the spices in my cupboard for the recipe found below)
1 cup of diced onion
1 cup of chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped celery
2 cloves of garlic, (sliced in small pieces because I haven't replaced my mincer)
1 lb. of lean ground beef
2 1/2 cups of V-8 (I used the low sodium version)
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes (I used the Italian seasoned blend)
1 can of light red kidney beans
1 can of northern beans
Salt & pepper (to season)
1/2 box of ditalini noodles
First, I placed two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan, heating to a medium heat. Once warm I added the chopped veggies & garlic, sauteing until soft; adding diced tomato & ground beef to this mixture; turn up the heat and brown the burger.
Note: After the meat mixture is brown I put it into a strainer and rinse with warm water to get the grease off. Not sure how much this helps but it makes me feel like I'm doing something good and helps with that unappetizing oil sheen found on meals with meat.
Now the fun part: dump the meat mixture and ALL of the other ingredients into the crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours. Cook the pasta according to directions, add to the crockpot mixture and cook for another 30 minutes. Make sure that you leave the pasta a bit firm otherwise it will get mushy & we all know that would be gross, right?
Dish up in cute bowls, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top & serve with your favorite tasty bread - we chose to have toasted garlic bread and it was delicious...with plenty left over for lunches.
Here is the link to the original recipe:
Knockin' Off the OG - Original Recipe