1 lb. ground beef or mild Italian sausage
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup diced carrots( about 2 medium, you can cut into matchsticks if desired)
1 cup diced celery( about 3 stalks)
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion( about 1/2 of a large)
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
3 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
3-4 cups beef broth ( chicken broth works fine too)
1 cup water
15 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 scant cup ditalini pasta, uncooked
15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
Romano Cheese( I also like it with Parmesan), for serving
Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium high heat, crumble in ground beef or sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Pour beef ( along with fat from beef, if you want it to be healthier you can drain the fat ) into a bowl and set aside. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oilve oil in the same large saucepan, saute carrots, celery and onion over medium high heat until tender about 4 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to low, add tomato sauce, beef broth, water, canned tomatoes, sugar,basil, oregano,thyme, marjoram, cooked beef, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and allow to simmer30 minutes, stirring occasionally until veggies are soft. Meanwhile prepare ditalini pasta according to directions on package, cooking to al dente.
Add cooked and drained pasta to soup along with kidney bans, great northern beans and an additional cup of broth if desired to thin soup and allow to cook 5 minutes longer. Serve warm with grated Romano cheese if desired.
Note: the longer the soup rests the more liquid the pasta will absorb so you can thin it with additional beef or chicken broth.