1 lb lean ground beef or mild Italian sausage (I've tried both and like either)
2 Tbsp olive oil , divided
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium)
1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
3 cloves garlic , minced (1 Tbsp)
3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (14.5 oz) cans low sodium chicken broth or beef broth
1/2 cup water , then more as desired
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 tsp 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 dry ditalini pasta
1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
Finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese , 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. Drain fat from beef then transfer beef to a plate, set aside. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in same large saucepan, onions, carrots, and celery over medium-high heat until tender about 6 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to a low, add tomato sauce, beef broth, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram and cooked beef then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile prepare ditalini pasta according to directions on package, cooking to al dente.
Add cooked and drained pasta to soup* along with kidney beans and great northern beans. Thin with a little more water if desired. Allow to cook 2 minutes longer. Serve warm with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.
*If you don't plan on eating all of the soup right away I recommend adding the pasta to individual servings. Then whatever is left over you can add the pasta to that the next day. Otherwise the pasta get's really soggy and soup doesn't have enough liquid.