1 pound 94% to 98% fat free spicy or sweet Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked and drained on paper towels of any fat if necessary
1 1/2 cups dried pasta, medium shells, pastina, etc.
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 28-oz. can chopped tomatoes or 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
6 cups chicken or beef stock or 4 cans regular strength broth; or 5 cups water mixed with 2 tablespoons chicken or beef soup base or bouillon
1/2 cup dry white or red wine
1 14.5-oz. can small white beans drained and rinsed
4 cups coarsely shredded fresh spinach leaves
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground black pepper to taste
fresh grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese – optional (adds 1 to 2 grams additional fat to soup)

1. Cook sausage according to recipe directions and set aside.

2. Heat a 4- to 6 -quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium for 2 to 3 minutes. Sauté onion, carrots and garlic until onions are soft.

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

4. While soup base 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, sausage and beans and continue to simmer until pasta is tender 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and olive oil; adjust seasonings if necessary and serve with 1 tablespoon grated cheese and fresh French or Italian bread if desired.

Yield: About 12 – 2 cup servings at approximately 142 calories; 3 grams fat; 0.7 gram saturated fat; 15 milligrams cholesterol; 17 grams carbohydrate; 2.4 grams dietary fiber; 12 grams protein; 775 milligrams sodium.

HIGH FAT VERSION CONTAINS 397 calories and 18 grams fat per equal serving

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