I LOVE soup and it’s one of our menu staples during the cold winter months. Add in some crusty bread and a green salad and I’m in heaven! Soup is simple to fix and loaded with nutritious possibilities. Sometimes, my meat-eating crew wants something more substantial than broth with a few other things in it, though. Silly goofs! 🙂 So my little experiment to take a traditional soup and make it more of a stew was born out of a desire to have all the wonderful flavors of soup in a hearty, stick to your ribs dish. It still has flavorful broth, but the “few other things in it” are the stars of the show. Turns out, it’s stupendously delicious! Plus, now I’ve discovered a new dish that is perfect for potlucks and family gatherings!
The thing to remember about this recipe is that it makes a large batch, enough to feed 10 or 12 people, generously. Cut it in half, if you’re just making it for a weeknight supper. Also, the leftovers stored very well, however, all the broth was absorbed by the pasta as it sat in the fridge overnight. To reheat it the next day, we had to add some beef broth to our bowls, before we covered them and popped them in the microwave. This tells me that this is not a dish that would freeze well, so I wanted to give you a heads up. It is flavorful PERFECTION, however, steaming hot from the stew pot! I garnished it with a little grated Parmesan cheese and more chopped fresh spinach. Even the grandkids gobbled it up!
So, grab your apron, slice some French bread, toss a quick salad and let’s make an easy dish your family will love — Beefy Pasta Fagioli Stew with Spinach. Enjoy!
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 teaspoons high quality sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
- 1 large red onion, minced
- 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
- ¼ cup dried basil
- ¼ cup dried parsley
- 3 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans cannelini beans, drained
- 5 cups beef stock
- 1 lb small pasta (I used rings, but shells or elbows would work, too.)
- 2½ cups fresh spinach, chopped fine
- optional: grated Parmesan for garnish
- Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
- Brown the ground beef in a large stock pot, with the salt and pepper. When it is completely browned, drain off any fat and place the beef back in the stock pot.
- Taste the beef and check the seasoning, now. This will be your last opportunity to make sure the beef has good flavor in your stew, so add salt and pepper, to taste, if necessary.
- Add the onion, garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, tomatoes, tomato stock and beef broth to the stew pot. (If you don't have beef stock, on hand, Knorr Beef Stock concentrate is REALLY good. I love it!) Allow to come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 - 45 minutes, to meld all the beefy, tomatoey, herb flavors.
- Add the drained beans and pasta to the stock pot and heat just longenough for the beans and pasta to be heated.
- Chop fresh spinach until it is in very thin ribbons or small pieces. Place 2 cups of the spinach into the stock pot and save the other ½ cup for garnish.
- Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and chopped, fresh spinach as garnish. Serve with a tossed salad and warm bread.
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