This is a hearty soup that can be put together quickly. If you want to make it in advance, put it together through step 5. The next day, it will be easy to lift off and discard fat, bring it to a boil and continue on with adding the pasta. This can be easily halved for a smaller group.
- 2 lbs hot Italian sausage or 2 lbs mild Italian sausage
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 3 quarts fat-skimmed chicken broth
- 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or White Northern beans)
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 cups dried large shell pasta
- 4 quarts spinach leaves, rinsed
- salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (approximation)
- Remove casings from sausages and put them in 8-quart stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook them, stirring often and breaking them apart until browned and crumbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out and discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat from pan.
- Add carrots, onion, and garlic; stir often until onion is limp, about 5 minutes.
- Add broth, tomatoes with their juice, beans, and basil. Bring to a boil.
- Add pasta, reduce heat and summer, with cover on, stirring occasionally until pasta is just tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Skim and discard fat.
- Stir in spinach and cook just until it is wilted, about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Offer parmesan cheese to sprinkle over top to taste.