With the recent snow and freezing temps in Denver, there was no better time for me to take out that old slow cooker and whip up a nice warm soup. Nothing screams winter like a hearty stew… and just in time for a weekend of football, too!
Resembling a chili (but way better), this recipe has tons of beefy bean and tomato goodness, with more veggies and a plethora of pasta to top it off. Throw it in the slow cooker in the morning and you’ll have a crowd pleasing, well-rounded complement to all that beer, in plenty of time for the afternoon and evening games. Plus, the leftovers will last you all the way til next weekend!
Makes 10-12 servings
Ideal slow cooker size: 6 quart
Slow Cooker Pasta e Fagioli Soup
- 1lb ground beef (I always use at least 90% lean… you can also use ground turkey if you choose)
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, finely sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 2 (15 oz) cans beef broth
- 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, with liquid
- 1 (15oz) can great northern beans, with liquid
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste, if needed
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 8 oz dry pasta (I used mezzi rigatoni – slightly smaller versions than the original – because it gives the soup a heartier look. Feel free to use ditalini or even shells if you prefer smaller noodles)
- Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, for serving
Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink, lightly seasoning with salt & pepper. Drain then add to a large slow cooker. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, kidney beans, great northern beans, salt, oregano, basil, thyme and pepper.
Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or until veggies are tender.
Add in apple juice (I know it sounds weird but trust me on this one. It gives the soup a slightly tangier touch, a whole new dimension of flavor).
When you are just about ready to serve, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just under al dente. Drain, then add to the soup and let cook for about 5-10 more minutes. (if you add the uncooked pasta straight to the slow cooker it will absorb all the liquid and all you’ll be left with is pasta and veggies. That defeats the purpose!)
Salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into serving bowls and top with Parmesan cheese and a little sprig of parsley to garnish.