Celebrate National Beef Month with good eats: Bob’s Favorite Recipe for Pasta Fagioli


In autumn, I tend to crave soups and stews cooked on weekends as a method for warming up in the colder temperatures. These foods also become better as leftovers the following week after the flavors of the ingredients have combined and blended after several days in the refrigerator (if there are any leftovers). 

This recipe is one I developed that is based on Olive Garden’s version. It contains three of my favorite foods (pasta, beans, and beef). Some recipes put the pasta into the soup while simmering, but I prefer to cook it separately and add desired quantities into individual bowls of soup to avoid pasta becoming mushy and soaking up liquid.


  • 1-1.5 lbs. ground beef
  • Macaroni, bow-tie, or small shell pasta cooked separately  
  • 1 can (14-16 oz) diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 24 oz of jarred or canned spaghetti sauce
  • 2 -3 cans (14-16 oz) of beans, undrained (I use both Great Northern and kidney)
  • 16-24 oz of chicken broth or bullion
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 carrots, sliced
  • ½ to ¾ large onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ Tbsp oregano
  • ½ Tbsp basil
  • ½ Tbsp Italian seasoning (optional)


  • Brown ground beef and drain off fat
  • Sauté vegetables in olive oil in a separate pot until they become soft
  • Add cooked ground beef and spices. Cook slowly for another 5 minutes to blend
  • Add beans and liquid ingredients – spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, and tomatoes
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for several hours (2-3), stirring occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot. You may need to add additional water or chicken broth.
  • After reaching the desired consistency, add cooked pasta to individual bowls as desired.