- 1 lb lean ground beef or mild Italian sausage (I've tried both and like either)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium, you can cut them into matchsticks if desired)
- 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
- 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 of a large)
- 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
- 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 3 - 4 cups beef broth (chicken broth works fine too)
- 1 cup water
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 scant cup ditalini pasta, uncooked
- 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- Romano cheese (I also like it with parmesan), for serving
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium high heat, crumble in ground beef or sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Pour beef (along with fat from beef, if you want it to be healthier you can drain the fat) into a bowl, set aside. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in same large saucepan, saute carrots, celery and onion over medium high heat until tender about 4 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to a low, add tomato sauce, beef broth, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, cooked beef along, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and allow to simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until veggies are soft. Meanwhile prepare ditalini pasta according to directions on package, cooking to al dente.
- Add cooked and drained pasta to soup along with kidney beans, great northern beans and an additional 1 cup broth if desired to thin soup, and allow to cook 5 minutes longer. Serve warm with grated Romano cheese if desired.
- Note: the longer the soup rests the more liquid the pasta will absorb so you can thin it with additional beef broth if desired.
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 zucchini, thinly sliced and quartered
- 2/3 cup peas
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, combine spaghetti, mushrooms, zucchini, peas, garlic, thyme and 4 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and heavy cream.
- Serve immediately.
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
- 3 red bell peppers
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup tahini or almond butter for thickening
For the Zucchini Noodles:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- (a few thin slices of shallot or onion, if you want)
- 4 zucchini, ends cut off and spiralized or cut into 'noodles'
- salt to taste
- ROAST THE PEPPERS: Place the bell peppers on a foil lined baking sheet. Turn on the broiler and roast the peppers on the top level, close to the heating element. When black spots appear, turn the peppers and continue to roast until all sides have been blackened. Let cool and pull off blackened skins and remove ribs, seeds, and stem.
- MAKE THE SAUCE: Add the 3 roasted bell peppers to a blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.
- ZUCCHINI NOODLES: Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the olive oil and onion - sauté for a minute or two until the onion is softened but not browned. Add the zucchini noodles to the skillet. Sauté using a pair of non-stick tongs to toss the noodles. Just as the zucchini noodles begin to soften, but before they start shedding water, sprinkle with salt and add the sauce and cook just until the sauce is heated. When in doubt, my leaning is to under cook these!
- SERVE: Adjust the salt to your taste, and serve immediately with any toppings you might like, such as: parsley, Parmesan, goat cheese, truffle oil, that sort of thing.