1/2 lb. 94 to 98% fat free spicy or sweet Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked and drained on paper towels of any fat if necessary
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
2 stocks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, cut in pieces
1 to 2 large cloves garlic pressed or minced
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
1 14.5 – oz. can chopped tomatoes
6 cups Beef Stock or 4 cans regular strength beef broth; or 5 cups water mixed with 1 1/2 to 2 Tbl. beef base or bouillon
1 6 – oz. cans tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white or red wine
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup or 1/2 of a 14.5 – oz. can kidney beans, drained
1 cup or 1/2 of a 14.5 – oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
3/4 cup dried pasta, small shells, pastina, etc.
1 cup coarsely shredded fresh spinach leaves
1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup fresh minced basil – optional
1. Cook sausage according to recipe directions and set aside.
2. Heat an 8 – to 10 – quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium for 2 to 3 min. Saute onion, carrot, celery, green beans, bell pepper and garlic, stirring often until onions are soft.
3. Add tomatoes and their liquid, dried herbs and stock, broth or water and bouillon to vegetables. Increase heat medium high and bring to low boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 30 to 40 min.
4. While soup base is simmering; cook pasta according to package directions reducing cooking time by 3 to 4 min. Pasta should be slightly underdone. Rinse pasta with cold water and set aside to drain.
5. Add wine, pasta, sausage and canned beans and continue to simmer until pasta is tender 2 to 5 min. Stir in spinach, fresh basil and olive oil; adjust seasonings if necessary and serve.