Pasta e fagioli a mouthful to say, but so good

Every once in a while, when I?m out to eat at a restaurant, I find myself in a conundrum.

I look at the menu and spot a dish that looks amazing, but when I start looking at the name, I begin wondering whether I?ll be able to even pronounce it to order it. Often, I?ll decide that my embarrassment isn?t worth trying to figure it out, or sometimes I?ll just resort to pointing at the menu when our server comes to take our order.

Well, I?m going to save you the trouble with this week?s recipe, because not only will you not have to order it?because you can make it at home?but I also looked up the pronunciation, so you can tell your family and friends what this great-tasting dish is called.

Olive Garden serves a soup called ?Pasta e Fagioli,? which is pretty darn good but a bit difficult to pronounce if you?re not fluent in Italian. Well, according to a website called ?How do you say that word?? (Convenient, right?), it?s ?PAH/stah eh fah/DJOH/lee.?

With the mystery of how to say it covered, the only thing left is to give it a try, and it is definitely worth trying. This copycat recipe comes from a blog called ?Damn Delicious? (pardon the language, but that?s a pretty good description for this recipe). You can find the original at


Copycat Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli


about 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1 pound spicy Italian sausage

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cups chicken broth

16 ounces tomato sauce

15 ounces can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup ditalini pasta (it?s a small, tubular pasta)

15 ounces red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

15 ounces great northern beans, drained and rinsed


Heat a touch of olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. When the pot is hot, add the sausage and cook until it?s no longer pink.

Remove the sausage from the pot and drain off any excess fat.

Add the rest of the olive oil to the pot, and saute the garlic, onion, carrots and celery over medium heat for about five minutes or until the vegetables are starting to get soft.

Add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper along with one cup of water to the pot.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat.

Cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.

In the meantime, cook your pasta in salted water according to package directions. Add the pasta and beans right before you?re ready to serve your soup, and make sure everything is heated through before dishing the soup into bowls.


We ate our soup with some crusty bread, and I would contend that some kind of good bread might be a necessity with this soup.

I may never feel completely sure that I?m pronouncing this one correctly, but I figure it?s rude to talk with my mouth full anyhow.

When not helping husband Joey with newspaper work, Lindsey teaches speech, debate and forensics at Haven High School. She can be reached at

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