Ain't-No-Pasta e Fagioli
Hi y'all! it's been a while, huh? I haven't really had anything new to share for a while until now!
Last month my dad and I went out to eat at Olive Garden and then to a movie. Well, I can never resist Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli. I love love love that stuff. Then last weekend my buddy Jackie and I were talking about how to low carb it, and she came up with a great idea to sub out the pasta. Zucchini!! And that set my creative wheels in motion big time. They have been dead for so long it seems.
So we looked up a recipe on line for a copy cat and we came up with this one. TopSecret Recipes. Other than the beans and the pasta, it looked fairly low carb friendly so I decided to go for it! Here is what I did:
1 to 2 pounds ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot (optional)
1 cup diced celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can red kidney beans (optional)
1 cup small diced cauliflower
2 cups homemade V8 Juice(cut way down on the sweetener, see below)
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 to 2 cups cubed peeled zucchini (about 1/2 inch by 3/4 inch)
Brown the ground beef and drain most of the fat off.
Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes
Add all the rest except the zucchini and cauliflower and let simmer 45 minutes to an hour.
Add the zucchini and cauliflower to the pot and let cook another 10 to 15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with fresh Parmesan cheese.
Serve this with this Cheesy Garlic Bread from my buddy LeeAnn's blog at Cutthewheat.com and you will think you are sitting in the dining room at the Olive Garden! Her recipe is purely awesome!
Now, first you say, where are the pictures????? I forgot! I'm gonna be making this again this weekend so I'll try to grab some decent pictures to add.
And I thought I'd share this too. As Seen On TV Chopper is what I used to cube the zucchini. I peeled them and then ran them through this thing to cut them into strips and then diced them about 3/4 inch long. They really resembled the pasta in the original dish. But if you have crazy good knife skills you could get the same results.
Also, that V8 recipe that I linked to, is REALLY good! But way too sweet. Next time I'll leave out the sweetener and see how it does. I've never been a big V8 fan but I might be now!
The cauliflower was a decent substitute for the white beans, but I'm sorry, I had to add one can of kidney beans to this. It's just not the same without it, but if beans aren't your thing, definitely leave them out and up the amount of beef you use. That's why I put 1 to 2 pounds ground beef in the recipe.
So, what do you think? Now that I have this recipe in my files, I think my draw to the Olive Garden will be curbed. As my brutha of anutha mutha George Stella would say, "Don't do without... REINVENT"