We love Pasta e Fagioli Soup from Olive Garden and have been wanting to make it at home for quite some time. I stumbled across this copycat recipe and it was very good. We made enough to freeze and will heat and server again soon.
Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink, lightly seasoning with salt & pepper. Drain then add to a large slow cooker. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, kidney beans, great northern beans, salt, oregano, basil, thyme and pepper.
Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or until veggies are tender.
Add in apple juice.
When the soup has 10 minutes left to cook, cook pasta in salted boiling water until just under al dente. Drain, then add to the soup and let cook for about 5-10 more minutes. (if you add the uncooked pasta straight to the slow cooker it will get really thick so you'll have to add a lot more broth, and then adjust the seasonings. Unfortunately, it's best this time to stick with the stove top to cook the noodles.)
Salt and pepper to taste. Then season with garlic powder, oregano and basil, if needed. (*I also added a little more beef broth because, it got too thick)
Ladle into serving bowls and top with Parmesan cheese or mozzarella.