PREP: Dice the carrots, celery, onion, and mince the garlic.
VEGGIES AND BEEF: To a large stockpot, add the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat over medium heat. Once hot, add in the 3/4 cup diced carrots, 3/4 cup diced celery, and 3/4 cup onion. Cook, stirring often, until veggies are beginning to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the 2 teaspoons minced garlic and cook, stirring often, for another minute. Push veggies to the sides, increase the heat to high and add in the 1 pound of lean ground beef. Allow to cook without touching for about 30 seconds. Then crumble the beef and cook until no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Incorporate the veggies into the beef as you crumble and cook it.
SEASONINGS AND TOMATOES: Add the seasonings to the beef: start with 1/2 teaspoon salt (or even less; add to preference), 3/4 teaspoon cracked pepper (or to preference), 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Stir for 30 seconds. Add in the 2 cans of undrained fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed can of white beans, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, and 1 and 1/2 cup Rao's marinara sauce. Stir to combine. Add in the beef stock; start with 2 cups and add in the 3rd (or even 4th) cup if you'd like it slightly thinner (we usually stick to 2 cups for a thicker soup). Stir and then reduce the heat to low. Crumble in the beef bouillon cube and add in the bay leaf. Stir. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. After it's simmered for 30 minutes, stir in the 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt to taste. Remove the bay leaf.
PASTA: About 20 minutes before the soup is done, bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add some salt to the water and add in the 3/4 cup uncooked pasta. Cook until 1 minute short of package instructions for al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss with the remaining 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar and set aside until soup is ready.
FINISH: If eating all of the soup at this meal, stir in the pasta. If you want leftovers, I like to serve the pasta separately so it doesn't bloat. If doing it this way, add pasta to individual serving bowls. Garnish individual bowls with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley if desired. Enjoy hot.
SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS: In a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat, brown the ground beef with the onions, carrots, and celery. Drain off any grease. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add in the tomatoes, kidney beans, white beans, tomato paste, marinara sauce, and 2 cups beef stock. Add in all the seasonings, beef bouillon cube, and bay leaf. Cover and cook on high for 3-5 hours or low for 5-7 hours or until the vegetables are tender. When finished, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the red wine vinegar. Add in pasta that has been cooked, drained, and tossed with the 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley if desired.