My cousin was a manager at an Olive Garden restaurant for years, she even earned the free trip to Italy from her job performance! (Love her!!)
Here is the thing, the soup – salad – breadstick lunch is FAR from that old $4.95 per person days… but I ADORE and often crave this soup.
Here is the recipe that I got from her — it’s almost the same as what they serve and is SO much better than a lot of the knock off recipes out there on the web.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- (2) 14 oz cans petit diced tomatoes
- 15 oz can red kidney beans (with juice)
- 15 oz can northern beans (with juice)
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 12 oz can V-8 juice
- 1 TBSP white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 lb Ditali pasta
Brown the beef and drain the fat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic, then sauté for 10 minutes or so. Do NOT burn the garlic. Add everything else but the pasta and simmer for an hour. Cook the pasta separately until ALMOST done. Add the pasta into the soup and simmer 5-10 more minutes.