Minestrone with White Beans and Italian Sausage
Italian minestra refers to a variety of moderately thick soups. Minestrone is a hearty vegetable-filled minestra that often contains beans and sometimes pasta. We’ve omitted the pasta here but added some Italian sausage. With minestrone, it seems, there is no end to the delectable variations.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups drained and rinsed canned white beans, preferably cannellini beans (from two 19-ounce cans)
10 cups water
1 cup canned diced tomatoes with their juice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2/3 pound spinach, stems removed and leaves washed well (about 1 1/2 quarts)
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon.
Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine 2 cups of the beans and 2 cups of the water in a blender and puree until smooth.
Add the tomatoes, the bean puree, the remaining 8 cups water, the salt, and the pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Stir in the sausage, the remaining 2 cups beans, and the spinach. Simmer until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Serve the soup topped with grated Parmesan, and pass more Parmesan at the table.
Facts per Serving
Calories: 774 Fat: 40g Carbohydrates: 67g
Cholesterol: 86mg Sodium: 2259mg Protein: 39g
Fiber: 16g % Cal. from Fat: 47% % Cal. from Carbs: 35%