Saturday Pasta Fagioli Soup with Meat

What to do with leftover ground meat? Want a delicious comforting meal? Soup. A nice, steaming, healthy soup will utilize the meat and add some healthiness and comfort to a Saturday meal. This recipe is perfect, not just for the taste, but for the fact that it is so easy to make, (only thing easier is to open a can of prepared soup), smells incredible while it is cooking, and it is very healthy. Traditionally, pasta fagioli is just some type of pasta cooked with cannellini beans.

This is a souped up version, that includes meat.  I like to make my own soup to control the amount of sodium in my diet. Sodium lurks about in many hidden places, including all canned vegetables. It actually blows me away that it is even found in most cereals, in high amounts. If the recommended daily sodium intake is 2400mg and FYI, a teaspoon of salt contains 2358mg, then we really don’t need any extra salt. Of course, if one is working out and perspiring profusely, then extra sodium is okay.

But really, who works out that much, more than 2 hours a day? So, back to the soup! I pretty much follow the recipe to a T but I cook the orzo al dente and don’t add it until before I am ready to serve the soup. I don’t like mushy orzo so I don’t overcook it. If you decide to cook the orzo in the soup, then add some extra broth. Of course, as with any recipe, feel free to use low salt or the products of your choice. I also rinse the beans and use low salt tomatoes and broth. I also do not add extra salt to the recipe as there is plenty in the fat free, low sodium broth. Enjoy with a crusty bread and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients
  • Cannola oil
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lb ground meat
  • 2 tsp. hot Mexican chili powder
  • 1 15 oz. can seasoned tomatoes
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can cannellini beans, great white northern beans, or beans of choice
  • 1/2 cup orzo, uncooked

Direction

  1. Finely chop celery, carrot, onion, and garlic and saute in a small amount of oil.
  2. Stir in ground meat, tomatoes, pepper,  and chili powder.
  3. Cook uncovered til the meat starts to brown.
  4. Add in broth and stir. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Stir in beans, cover, and cook an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Cook orzo to al dente stage and stir into soup about 5 minutes before serving.

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