By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

Pasta e Fagioli

If the winter weather remains as cold as predicted, soup will be a mainstay at my dinner table. But unlike our grandmother’s long-simmered soups, my soup pot will be bubbling with quick, yet warm and filling soups like this. Pasta e Fagioli is mainstay on Italian restaurant menus. My recipe combines fresh ingredients with convenience products for a quick, yet homemade main dish.

This recipe makes a hefty 12 servings, but it freezes well. Divide the soup in half, and serve one evening, then freeze the other half for another meal. It’s best to freeze the pasta separately, thaw it in boiling water, and add it to the soup before serving. Serve your Pasta e Fagioli soup as the centerpiece for a winter menu, along with a green salad and hot French bread.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded carrots, about 2 medium carrots
  • 2 cups dried shell pasta
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans beef broth
  • 2 12.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 28-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 16-ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, optional
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, saute beef in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until browned. Drain and set aside. Heat olive oil in same pot and add celery, onion and carrots. Saute 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Return beef to pot. Add all remaining ingredients except cooked pasta shells and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in pasta and serve.

Makes 12 servings.