If you love cozy and delicious comfort food, perfect for the autumn and winter seasons, look no further than Pasta Fagioli. Loaded with ground beef and Italian sausage, veggies, and beans, all within a delicious and nutritious tomatoey bone broth base, Pasta Fagioli is sure to be a family favorite. Bonus… this recipe is perfect for serving company because it makes a ton with enough for several nights of yummy leftovers!
A Regular on the Menu
We all have our regular rotations and family favorites, but this one has been in the family for over twenty years and is still a family favorite. Literally, it feeds my family of eight with over four quarts leftover to freeze. Whenever I am going out of town, I prepare a batch of Pasta Fagioli so I know my family has several nights of healthy meals that they just have to add a salad and bread to complete. It freezes well (without the pasta that is served separately).
Pasta Fagioli is also the perfect comfort food to prepare when out-of-town guests are coming because it ensures there will be plenty of food to go around. Ultimately, I am always asked for the recipe. This is definitely a crowd-pleaser and mama’s best helper.
Using the Best Ingredients for Pasta Fagioli
Whenever I prepare any meal, especially one using meat or dairy, I make sure and find a sustainable source, such as purchasing online from Butcher Box. Ideally, I prefer to collaborate with a local farmer, but thankfully online alternatives make sustainable food available to everyone. If you are interested in learning how doable purchasing real, organic food can be, without draining the pocketbook, check out my post Eat Real, Organic Food Without Breaking the Bank.
Because I prepare my own bone broth from scratch every week, I always have it available in the freezer ready to prepare soup or add extra minerals, protein, and flavor to rice or other whole grains. Alternatively, in a pinch, I will use Kettle & Fire beef or chicken bone broth because they use real grass-fed beef or organic pasture-raised chickens to prepare their broths.
For organic produce, I purchase organic according to the “Dirty Dozen” and save money by buying conventional with the “Clean 15”. Just a tip, but if eating GMO-free is also important to you, Trader Joe’s produce is GMO-free. Organic is considered GMO-free under the organic label. Ultimately, I appreciate Trader Joe’s efforts in purchasing conventional produce that is free of genetically modified organisms.
(FYI -carrot, celery, and onion chopped together is what the French call Mirepoix, and grocery stores sell it already chopped together if you are ever in a pinch for time. I have never done that…liar, liar, pants on fire.)
- 1 pound Italian Sausage (hot and/or sweet)
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 cans great northern beans, drained
- 3 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 64 oz tomato juice
- 4 cups beef broth
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 4 celery, chopped
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 handful of green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 2 cups red wine
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- large handful of fresh basil, chiffonade (sliced into strips)
- Ditalini or Orecchiette pasta, cooked according to package directions
- fresh grated parmesan cheese
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté ground beef and Italian sausage together. Remove from pan and reserve 1 T of the fat
- Sauté onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in reserved fat
- Add reserved meat back into pot and stir
- Add in beans, diced tomatoes, tomato juice, beef broth, red wine, and salt and pepper and bring to a rolling simmer. Cook for 30 minutes to an hour, skimming the scum off the top so it doesn't reintegrate.
- After impurities are moved from the top, add in zucchini, green beans, and kale and simmer until soft, but not limp.
- Add in basil and additional salt and pepper as needed
- Serve over Ditalini or Orecchiette pasta with freshly grated parmessan cheese and garnish with basil chiffonade and EnJOY!
Throwing It All Together
I love this recipe. Not only is it a toss-in-the-pot staple, but it comes together so quickly. The pasta is cooked separately so it does not get soggy. With just a little veggie prep while the meat is cooking, the hands-on time is literally minutes. Feel free to omit the wine, but being from the wine country in Cali all my life, I have grown to appreciate the flavor it adds to meals, especially meats and pasta sauces.
Pasta Fagioli is best served over Ditalini or Orecchiette pasta, or any tiny pasta shape. Top with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and garnish with fresh basil chiffonade. Serve with an artisan loaf of sourdough bread slathered in butter. Mangia!