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Winter Minestrone with Sausage & Beans

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Ingredients

(Read instructions and note how vegetables are handled before preparing them for the recipe.)

  • 8 ounces rigatoni or similar pasta, cooked al dente and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces Italian sausage
  • 4 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, canned or whole canned tomatoes, crushed and the juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound cannellini beans, cooked, or (3 to 4) 15 oz cans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups sturdy greens, coarsely torn or chopped (kale or escarole)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion tops (plus additional for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • coarsely ground black pepper and salt to taste (about a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of pepper)
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish

Instructions

As the soup simmers, bring a pot of salted water to boil for the rigatoni. Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water for 6 minutes; if you are adding it to individual servings, it should be al dente, if you are adding into the soup, it should be slightly underdone.

In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with a large spoon or wire potato masher as it cooks, until well browned.

Chop 1/2 the carrots, celery, and onion in a food processor, almost pureeing them. Remove and chop the other half, leaving them a bit chunky. Add to the saucepan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add crushed garlic. Crush the dried herbs in your hand and add to mixture. Cook for about a minute.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, cannellini beans, chicken stock, and greens. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, add rigatoni into the simmering soup or pass at the table so everyone can add their own. Add parsley or green onion tops and the vinegar to the soup. Add salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste. Discard the bay leaf.

Garnish with Parmesan, and/or additional parsley or thinly sliced green onion

Notes:

  • We like to keep the pasta on the side and add it to in our bowls as desired
  • This soup has tons of flavor, even with the dried herbs, but don’t be dismayed if you taste it before the 25 minutes simmering time; it takes a bit of time for them to blend and flavor the soup. The salt and pepper and the vinegar make a huge difference at the end.
  • If you use dried parsley, reduce the amount by about 1/4 and add in when you put the rest of the dried herbs in the pot.

Nutrition: Per Serving: 319 Calories; 12g Fat (32.9% calories from fat); 19g Protein; 35g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 22mg Cholesterol; 669mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Beans, Freezes Well, Greens, Italian, Italian sausage, Kale, Minestrone, Pasta, Sausage, Soup, Tomatoes, Tyler Florence.

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