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Soup’s On – Pasta e Fagioli

After all the “heavy” eating most of us have done since Thanksgiving and all weekend long with leftovers, it’s time for something a bit “lighter” and more simple.  We think this soup is just the thing!  This soup is a variation on a classic that is basically an Italian pasta and bean soup.  Our version has Italian sausage too.  You can make it in a matter of minutes and enjoy the leftovers for a couple of days if you make enough (which really means doubling this amount).  With Christmas and Hanukkah around the corner there is shopping to do and get togethers to plan and decorating to be done, so having something simple but satisfying to make in a hurry is just the thing we all need from time to time.  We’ve served this soup with popovers and that’s all you need for a quick, filling and delicious meal.

Pasta e Fagipoli with Italian Sausage

6 cups chicken broth
1 lb. Italian sausage
2 cans white beans or cannelloni beans
1 bunch spinach, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 lb. pasta (we use shells or spaghetti broken up, but use whatever is your favorite pasta)
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
red peper flakes, optional
Parmesan cheese, grated

Saute the sausages until browned and done then cut into slices.  Add sausage and juices from the sausage to the chicken broth.  Add beans that have been drained and rinsed.  Add the garlic, pasta, leaves from several sprigs of fresh thyme, the olive oil, the Italian seasoning, salt and a dash of pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes or until the pasta is just al dente.  Add in the chopped spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes more.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve piping hot with freshly grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle over the soup.  For a spicier soup, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes.  Complete the meal with fresh hot popovers.  (Check back…popover recipe to follow later this week)  Happy eating!

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