The snowy weekend made me think "soup," so today I made an old favorite, "White Bean, Pasta and Sausage Soup." Here's how old and favorite it is: I have a handwritten comment on the recipe that reads, "Oct. 1991 - Very good soup." Enough said.
I served it with a spinach salad and sliced wheat baguette.
White Bean, Pasta and Sausage Soup Serves 4-6
1 1/2 cups (about 8 oz.) small white beans (Navy beans) 1 - 2 T. olive oil 8 ounces chicken or turkey Italian sausage (sweet or spicy; up to you) 1 onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1 large carrot, chopped seasonings: dried basil, dried sage, dried thyme, fresh thyme if you have any 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth 3 cups water 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained 1 cup dry small shell-shaped pasta grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, optional
Rinse and sort beans in fine mesh colander and set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy dutch oven over medium heat. Remove and discard sausage casings, and crumble sausage into the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until sausage begins to brown. Add onion, garlic and carrot and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Turn down heat if the vegetables are browning. Stir in beans, seasonings, broth and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, covered, at a gentle boil, for 2 hours, or until beans are tender to the bite.
Add the tomatoes and their juices, then stir in the pasta. Return to a boil and cook until pasta is just done, about 8 minutes or whatever the pasta box advises. Serve soup with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley, if desired.