I hope everyone had a great, fun-filled Thanksgiving. If you’re anything like my family, you ate and then ate some more! And now you need to detox from all the eating. Look no further. This hearty soup is the cure. (Don’t ask me how eating more food cures holiday overeating, but in my humble opinion, soup cures pretty much everything.) One of my foodie co-workers introduced me to this soup, and I am so grateful he did. Now it’s hard for me to imagine my life without this dish in it. It’s so good with its medley of flavorful herbs, beans, pasta, and last, but not least, cheese!
There are a couple things to note with this soup. One, do not, I repeat, do not add the pasta until right before you are ready to serve the soup. In fact, you may want to add the pasta to the individual bowls right before serving. The ditalini pasta will absorb the liquid and become soggy. And two, my foodie co-worker suggested substituting Italian sausage for the ground beef, which I am going to try next time I make this. I used ground beef because I already had some on hand, but I think the Italian sausage would turn a delicious soup into an out-of-this-world, where-have-you-been-all-my-life kind of soup. But really, whichever kind of meat you go with, you can’t lose making this dish. Buon appetito!
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound lean ground beef or Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium)
1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (14.5 ounce) cans low sodium chicken broth or beef broth
1/2 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dry ditalini pasta
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
Finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Crumble in ground beef, and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through.
Drain fat from beef then transfer the beef to a plate, and set aside.
Heat remaining one tablespoon olive oil in the same pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute them until tender, about six minutes. Then add the garlic and saute one for another minute.
Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, basil oregano, thyme, marjoram, and cooked beef (or Italian sausage) to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the pot to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium-low and cover with lid and allow the pot to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare ditalani pasta according to package directions until they are al dente.
Add cooked and drained pasta* (see below note) to soup along with kidney beans and great northern beans.
*Note: If you don’t plan on eating all the soup right away, I recommend adding the pasta to the individual bowls right before eating. Otherwise, the pasta absorbs too much broth and gets soggy.
Allow to cook one minute longer. Stir in parsley, and serve warm with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!