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Pasta e Fagioli with Wagon Wheel Pasta

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Pasta e fagioli with wagon wheel pasta kicks off Wild West Week here on Cupcake Project.  “Wait,” you say, “Isn’t pasta e fagioli an Italian dish (meaning pasta and beans) that is most notably found at Olive Garden?”  Yes, astute reader, you are correct.  But focus, if you will, on the wagon wheels (rotelle):

Can you now picture covered wagons slowly rolling through the open plains?  If you can’t see it yet, don’t worry, we’ll work on it more later in the week.  You’ll get it!  I’m sure the Wild West cupcakes will help.

About Pasta e Fagioli

As the weather turns cooler, it’s time again to think about warm, homey soups and stews.  Pasta e fagioli is comfort food at its finest.  It’s loaded with both beef and veggies and doesn’t hit you with any strong or exotic flavors (unless you go heavy on the Tabasco sauce).  The recipe makes nine quarts – so get out a big stock pot and cook it up to share with friends, or freeze some to enjoy on that first snowy day when you don’t want to leave the house.

Pasta e Fagioli Recipe

I got the recipe for the the pasta e fagioli from my Taste and Create partner this month, Glenda of  Busy-At-Home (she got it from Recipezaar).  I am including the recipe below with my changes in red.  You’ll see that I cut down the recipe considerably and I also made it a bit thicker than the original version.

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Pasta e Fagioli with Wagon Wheel Pasta

Servings 9 quarts or 6 quarts if you follow the instructions I used


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 4 large carrots sliced thin
  • 4 stalks celery sliced thin
  • 1 small yellow onion chopped
  • 3 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 2 16 oz cans light red kidney beans, drained (I used 1)
  • 2 16 oz cans great northern beans, drained (I used 1)
  • 8 C beef broth I used 4 C of vegetable broth
  • 2 26 oz cartons beef stock (I used 2 cubes of beef bouillon)
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 tbsp fresh Italian parsley chopped
  • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 2 26.5 oz cans spaghetti sauce (I used one)
  • 1 lb of wagon wheel pasta


  1. Place oil and ground beef in large stew pot or kettle. Saute until beef is browned.
  2. Add onions, celery, carrots and diced tomatoes.
  3. Allow the meat and vegetables to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add beans to the meat and vegetables.
  5. Add the beef broth, beef stock, Italian seasoning, chopped parsley, Tabasco, pepper, and spaghetti sauce.
  6. Bring the soup to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for several hours.
  7. 15 minutes prior to serving, add the wagon wheels and continue cooking until the noodles are tender. (I found that mixing the pasta in with the soup made the pasta too soggy. I would recommend preparing the pasta separately and pouring the soup over the pasta in individual bowls.)
  8. Optionally, sprinkle with shredded parmesan or Italian blend cheeses.


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