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3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef
1 large (or 2 small) onions, diced
1 green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
5 or 6 cloves garlic, minced (or squeezed through a garlic press)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sweet basil
2 (28 ounce) cans plum tomatoes
1 (16 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
1 (16 ounce) cans cannelini (white kidney) beans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 (12 ounce) can V-8 Vegetable Juice
1 pound elbow macaroni
Spread olive oil in the bottom of a large stock pot or kettle. Add ground beef and sauté until thoroughly browned, crumbling as it cooks.
Add onions, pepper, celery, and garlic and sauté until they start to soften, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Roughly cut the tomatoes into chunks with a sharp knife and add them to pot.
Add oregano and dried sweet basil.
Add drained red and white kidney beans to pot.
Add V-8 Vegetable Juice to pot.
Add brown sugar to pot and stir until fully dissolved.
Bring soup to a full boil, then reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Just before serving, boil elbow macaroni and drain according to the directions on the box, then stir into the soup.
Serve with grated cheese as a garnish, if desired.