THE OLIVE GARDEN’S | Pasta e Fagioli

Beef, Bean & Pasta Soup in a Rich, Tomato Broth

by RRR

This recipe is my most requested recipe, by far!  And for good reason, it’s freaking delicious!  The Olive Garden’s classic Pasta e Fagioli is loaded with beef, beans and pasta in a rich, tomato broth. Definitely hearty enough for dinner, by itself!

The Olive Garden restaurants often refer to themselves as “The OG”, which of course makes sense.  But I often wonder if they really mean “The Original Gangsters” because this restaurant chain is the top dog of Italian-American restaurant chains.  The first Olive Garden was opened on December 13, 1982, in Orlando.  By 1989, there were 145 Olive Garden restaurants, making it the fastest-growing units in the General Mills restaurant division.  Now owned and operated by Darden Restaurants (named for Olive Garden’s founder, Bill Darden) it has over 900 locations in 15 countries and districts and boasts over $3 Billion a year in sales.  That’s a lot of breadsticks!

The marketing campaign that The Olive Garden uses, with unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks, also adds to the restaurant chains popularity.  And why shouldn’t it?  It’s a heck of a deal when a family on a budget can treat the brood out to a fun night at a  restaurant, fill up on soup, salad, and killer breadsticks and then bring the entrees home for dinner the next night.  I would be lying if I said that my family has never done it and really, what family isn’t under a budget?

A little tip when making this soup, however.  Make sure to cook the pasta, separately,  to 1 minute less than al dente instructions and add into the soup at the end.  Only give the soup additional cooking time for the pasta to come back up to serving temperature.  I never cook pasta in the soup while it is simmering.  I find that it makes the pasta mushy and the soup gummy.   Drain the beans before adding them and add them to the soup at the end, as well.  Again, to prevent the dreaded *mush*.

And when you have leftovers, which you probably will, store the cooked pasta apart from the soup and add as needed, per serving.

For a fun Olive Garden restaurant experience at home, serve the Pasta Fagioli with the The Olive Garden’s House Salad with House Dressing and The Olive Garden’s Fettucine Alfredo and Enjoy!

Cheat…the New York Style breadsticks in the grocery freezer section are a pretty good substitution for The OG’s.

Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli Soup

Serves: 6-8 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 4.0/5
( 4 voted )


  • 1 ½ lbs. very lean (93%/7%) ground beef
  • 1 box of Ditalini pasta (Barilla pref.)
  • 2 cans (24 oz.) petite diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups tomato juice (V8 if you pref.)
  • 15 oz. can Great Northern beans
  • 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 cup celery, sliced 1/8” thick
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 TBL fresh garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. dried basil
  • 1 TBL EVOO
  • 1 TBL Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
  • 1 TBL Kosher salt
  • ½ TBL cracked black pepper
  • More salt & pepper, to taste


In a large stock pot, on high heat, add 1 TBL of EVOO.  When oil shimmers, add the ground beef.  Using a potato masher, break up the ground beef and cook the beef until browned and cooked throughout.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef and set aside.

In the remaining beef drippings, add the celery, carrot, onion, and garlic and cook until fragrant and the onions are translucent.

Add the diced tomatoes (juice and all), the tomato sauce, and tomato juice, and stir.  Next, add the oregano, basil, Good Seasons, salt, and pepper.  Add back in the ground beef, juices, and all.  Stir well.

Reduce heat to simmer.  Cover the soup and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.

While the soup is simmering, cook the Ditalini pasta in 5 quarts of salted, boiling water for 9 minutes (1 minute less al dente instructions).  Drain pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.  Next, drain the beans and rinse under cold water.

Once soup has simmered for 45 minutes, add in the beans and 4 cups of the cooked and drained pasta, and stir.  Bring entire mixture back up to a simmer, only long enough for the beans and pasta to get heated through.  Serve in your favorite pasta or soup bowl and enjoy!


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