Pasta e Fagioli

As you know, we live in Cleveland. And before you make any snarky comments about the Browns…just, don’t…how ’bout that Tribe & Cavaliers!?

Cleveland this time of year is cold, dreary, and often snowy. It’s only been two of those three as of late, but when we finally got snow, this was a dish that really hit the spot. It lasted two nights, with leftovers that this mommy did in fact, enjoy (because honestly, I don’t like leftovers).

Pasta e Fagioli

adapted from Damn Delicious


  • 1 cup ditalini pasta –  this is great pasta for soup and when you need pasta for 1 person. In a pinch you can use another small pasta such as shells, stellini or orzo
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage – remove the casing or buy bulk-style
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (16oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes OR 1 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, fresh/frozen
  • Spices:
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed


  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain well and set aside in separate bowl, or spoon into your serving dishes.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage and cook until browned. As the sausage cooks, make sure to break it apart into small pieces. Drain the excess grease and set it aside in a small dish.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the stockpot. Stir in the garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Whisk in the chicken broth to help get any ‘brown bits’ off the bottom of the pot. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and spices.
  5. Add the Italian sausage back in, as well as 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables finish cooking.
  6. Set heat to low; stir in pasta and beans until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


In love with our new soup/pasta bowls…thank you Mom!

NOTE: Add the pasta to serve or else it’ll soak up all the liquid when leftovers go into the fridge! I cooked the pasta, the put it into the soup bowls. Once the soup was finished, I ladled the soup on top of the pasta. It worked perfectly; the pasta didn’t get soggy.

As you probably have noticed, I am a *huge* fan of Damn Delicious. All her recipes are, well, damn delicious! She adapted this recipe from the Olive Garden and I just knew it had to be good. You probably could omit the sausage if you wanted to or used a meat substitute with sausage seasonings (anise, red pepper), but I feel it wouldn’t be true to style if it didn’t have Italian sausage in it. However, that’s my two cents!

This soup pairs well with salad – as you can imagine at the Olive Garden – but is chock-full of vegetables and so hearty that it can be eaten by itself. However, you may want some fresh, crusty bread to eat along with it. 🙂

Enjoy, and stay warm!



German Potato Salad with Kielbasa

Yet another Rachael Ray recipe today. I have these two great cookbooks on my shelf and every now and then I like to dig them out and see what I can dish up. Since we’re trying to eat a little healthier in our house, I like to try and make adaptations to the recipes to make it a bit more waistline-friendly.

I grew up eating kielbasa all the time (I believe that kielbasa & sauerkraut was my favorite dish at the age of 5) and this was a great new dish for me to utilize it in. My mom & dad bought the kielbasa for us from the West Side Market while we were in Cleveland for Thanksgiving. It’s a leaner, smoked version that you can also eat without heating up. Yes, you read that right…and it tastes pretty good that way, too 😉

The link below will, believe it or not, take you to a review of the cookbook on the Weight Watchers website. Had I seen this article before I cooked this dish, I would have used their recommendations for making it healthier. Oh well – it was worth every. single. bite.

German Potato Salad with Kielbasa – adapted from Rachael Ray

  • 2 lbs red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 8 slices center-cut bacon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered & sliced thin
  • 1 large head kale
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup stock
  • 1 lb lean kielbasa, cut into half moons
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (1/8 cup dry works too)
  • black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400*F.
  2. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil the potatoes until they are cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, arrange the bacon on a slotted broiler pan and place in the middle of the oven. Bake until crisp (10-12 minutes). Cool, chop up, and save for the end of the dish.
  4. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until tender.
  5. Add the kale, a little at at time, until it is all wilted. Add the vinegar & stock, and turn off the heat.
  6. In a small nonstick skillet, cook the kielbasa until it begins to brown.
  7. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Add the kale/onion mixture and fold in. Add the bacon, parsley, pepper, and finally the kielbasa. Serve hot.


I admit that the picture does not do this dish justice.

This dish was great reheated the next night while waiting for my band to arrive for a basketball game. I also really liked how well the kale & potatoes joined – I tried a kale & potato dish over the summer that was an epic fail, so it felt almost like a successful do-over. While this ‘German potato salad’ isn’t too authentic, it’s still really delicious.

This recipe was a little more than 30 minutes, but during the time it look to boil potatoes and bake the bacon (seriously – I am going to do that technique again!), I was able to take a shower, having gone for a run at the gym after school. It was great to have a few moments to do something else while dinner was cooking.

If you are a fan of kielbasa, I really suggest that you try this dish.