Monday, September 17, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

Day two of my pantry clean out!! Yes ... that was a couple days ago, but I've only now had the time to post it.  It's amazing how good it feels to empty shelves.  Even though it's challenging, I estimate we'll probably save around $400 in the next three weeks.  Isn't that CRAZY??!!

Well, there's nothing that warms the soul like a delicious bowl of hearty soup on a chilly day!  As fall approaches, I can't wait to put my slow cooker to use!  This simple soup, while I'm sure it's not authentically Italian, was a real winner in our house - Morgan even asked to take it in her lunch (THAT is amazing)!

3 pieces turkey bacon, diced
1-2 lbs extra lean ground beef
1 white onion, chopped
2 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped or a handful of matchstick cut carrots
6 cups halved, skinned Roma tomatoes or 2-28 oz cans whole tomatoes with liquid
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried fennel
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 all natural beef bouillon cubes
2-3 cups water
1 clove garlic
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. any small pasta, cooked according to al dente directions and drained - I used Farfalline
2 tbsp fresh parsley

Garnish with:  shredded Parmesan and more fresh parsley 
Serve with warm buttered toasts

Add the first 5 ingredients to a skillet and brown.  If you have a Versaware Crockpot, you can use your crock for this step. (Here's a somewhat cheesy video showing how the Versaware works - I really LOVE mine!)

Once the meat is browned and veggies are tender, drain liquid and place in the slow cooker.  Spoon spices into a mortar and pedestal, and grind a couple times to release the flavour and break up the fennel.  If you don't have one of these, just chop with your chef's knife a few times. 

Add in tomatoes, spices, bouillon cubes, bay leaf, garlic clove and red beans.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Right before serving, add in cooked pasta and fresh parsley.

Garnish with cheese and additional parsley and serve with delicious, warm buttered toasts.

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