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Italian Sausage and Portabella Mushroom Soup

1 pound 96 to 98% fat free spicy or sweet Italian sausage
3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cups chopped or sliced portabella mushrooms fins removed
2 carrots cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
2 stocks celery, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes and juice
8 cups water mixed with 3 tablespoons chicken soup base
1 roasted red bell pepper chopped
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white or red wine
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup dried pasta
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups coarsely shredded fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons fresh grated Asiago or other hard Italian cheese

1. Remove casings from sausage. Preheat medium sized nonstick fry pan over medium heat and add sausage to pan. As sausage cooks, break up into smaller pieces. Drain cooked sausage on paper towels if necessary and set aside.

2. Lightly spray a non stick or stick resistant 8 to 10 quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium for 2 to 3 minutes. Sauté garlic until lightly browned and fragrant, add onion, mushrooms, roasted pepper, carrot, and celery stirring often until vegetables are tender crisp.

3. Add tomatoes and their liquid, dried herbs and chicken soup base stock to vegetables. Increase heat medium high and bring to low boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 30 to 40 minutes.

4. While soup is simmering; cook pasta according to package directions reducing cooking time by 3 to 4 minutes. Pasta should be slightly underdone. Rinse pasta with cold water and set aside to drain.

5. Add wine, pasta and sausage and continue to simmer until pasta is tender 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, fresh basil and olive oil; adjust seasonings if necessary and serve.

Yield: About 8 to 10 – two cup servings each at approximately 170 calories; 5.2 grams fat; 1.6 gram saturated fat; 23 milligrams cholesterol; 15 grams carbohydrate; 2.5 grams dietary fiber; 14 grams protein; 840 milligrams sodium.

Compare at 335 and 23 grams total fat

Recipe from the cookbook Lighten Up – The Art of Low Fat Gourmet Cooking, by Mary E. Ross

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