Beth Tindall of Parkton requested an Olive Garden soup called Pasta Fagioli.
Kim Crawford of Elkridge responded with a recipe that she said "came from my good friend Norita Moreland,who is a wonderful cook. The ingredients yield a soup much like that at the Olive Garden."
Pasta e Fagioli
Makes 6 large bowls
8 ounces dry small macaroni shells or elbows
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrot (about 1 large)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (28-ounce) can peeled, chopped tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon each dried basil, rosemary and oregano
1 (19-ounce) can navy or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, optional
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Set aside. Brown ground beef with onions, carrots and garlic. Drain fat. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, herbs and beans. Boil 15 minutes. Stir in cooked macaroni. Serve, if desired, with Parmesan cheese sprinkled onto hot bowls of soup.
Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "I chose this recipe for two reasons: It is easy, and the yield is not ridiculously huge. It is hearty and filling, with a visually pleasing mix of colors and shapes.
"I would add a little Tabasco to give it a little kick, or an 8-ounce can of Spicy Hot V-8. There is not a lot of liquid to the soup, so a little extra chicken stock or tomato juice may be desired."
George V. B. Hall of Bethel Park, Pa., writes that he would like to find a recipe he had when he and his wife visited Annapolis and discovered the Middleton Tavern. "As part of our luncheons, we had bowls of their Cuban Black Bean Soup. We've tried many black bean soup recipes since then, but none has provided the flavor of that soup."
Marie Stewart of Fayetteville, N.C., writes that she has lost a recipe for bran muffins, which she clipped from a Fayetteville or Raleigh, N.C., newspaper. "The beauty of the recipe was that it could be stored in the refrigerator for a good while and used in small quantities. To some batches, I might add pineapple, apples, bananas or whatever struck my fancy," she wrote. "When I recently looked in my cookbook, it was gone. Any help would be greatly appreciated."
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.