Where I live in Michigan we have had a pretty mild winter but the weather gurus are stating we are in for “the storm of the season”…….um, ok? Not sure what that means or if it will even happen but I was thinking, what is better in cold weather but soup? I have made this recipe for a few years and sometimes to mix it up I will even make some turkey/chicken meatballs and drop them in but how ever you decide to make it, I know you will enjoy the soup. It’s filling, low in fat and has such a great hearty richness that I”m sure all your family will love it too. Enjoy! For comments/questions please write firstname.lastname@example.org
Italian Sausage Minestrone
8 oz-1 # chicken brats cut into bite size pieces (a smoked brat adds a delightful blend of flavors to the soup)
2 large carrots chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 medium onion chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
7 cups low fat chicken broth
2 cans cannelloni beans drained and rinsed
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 Tlb. Italian seasoning
1 Tlb. tomato paste
2 cups small pasta (shells, mini penne, etc)
In a dutch oven or large pot, spray it liberally with Pam olive oil. Cook the brats until almost done over med. heat. Remove pieces from the pan, add carrots, onion ,celery and garlic. Stir together, add broth, beans, tomatoes, bay leaves, seasoning and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 20 min. Add pasta and cook for 10 more minutes or until al dente. Add meat and cook 3 more minutes to warm the meat pieces.
NOTE: if you decide to put this in the freezer, it’s important to not over cook your pasta or you will have mush when you warm the Minestrone back up. When I make the soup with meat balls I add them during the simmer stage (20 min) and then add my pasta. You can also jazz the flavor by adding red pepper flakes along with the other spices.