How to make slow cooker pasta e fagioli with meat (video)

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As with many Italian dishes, pasta e Fagioli transforms inexpensive ingredients into a delectable, filling meal. Translated, pasta e Fagioli means "pasta and beans," and there is no definitive recipe since kitchen staples vary widely throughout Italy. This hearty soup has legions of fans, and cooks have gone to great lengths to duplicate Olive Garden's version.
While we can't guarantee that this is the exact recipe they use in their restaurant, it's a pretty close facsimile. And you'll find that the ingredients are probably already in your pantry. Serve it with a tossed green salad and fresh breadsticks, and you've got a meal for the whole family.
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Pasta e Fagioli with meat
Cooktop Cove
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
1 lb lean ground beef
2 whole carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 clove garlic, minced
28 oz can crushed/chopped tomatoes
2 cans (14.5 oz each) beef broth or fresh beef stock
2 whole bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup ditalini pasta, uncooked (or similar pasta shape)
Parmesan cheese, grated  
Instructions
1. Put everything except beans, pasta and cheese into a 6-quart slow cooker and stir, being sure to break up the ground beef. 
2. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 3-4 hours
3. 30 minutes before the end, stir in beans (drained and rinsed) and pasta. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
4. Remove bay leaves before serving. Sprinkle grated parmesan on top.
Serve piping hot, to cries of great joy. Some people might want salad with their soup, and it would taste great; but really? You probably just need some decent rustic-style bread and a spoon! 

Note: All slow cookers are a little bit different in temperature and calibration. This recipe was tested in Cooktop Cove's Test Kitchen using this slow cooker, which is available for purchase here
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Anytime I’m looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that is also deeply comforting, I reach for these two ingredients.
December 14   ·  
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The more traditionally assembled dish also uses cottage cheese instead of the more familiar ricotta, but feel free to use whichever you prefer.
December 13   ·  
This recipe will have guests permanently parked near the food table for an entire party.
December 13   ·  
 
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