Tuscan Sausage and White Bean Soup
by Mel's Kitchen Cafe
1 pound sweet Italian chicken sausage
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion or leeks
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5-ounce each) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can Great Northern or Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups uncooked shell pasta
9 ounces spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, cook the sausage over medium heat (remove the sausage from the casings, if needed) until browned, 3-4 minutes, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. If your sausage is really lean, you may need to use a teaspoon or so of oil so it doesn't stick to the pan.
Add the carrots, onion, and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the sausage is cooked through, 5-10 minutes. At this point, if there is excess grease, drain it before proceeding.
Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, basil, salt and pepper.
Bring the soup to a boil. Add the shell pasta, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally to make sure the pasta isn't sticking.
Stir in the spinach and simmer for another minute until the spinach is wilted. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.