Italian Sausage and 4 Bean Soup

Italian Sausage and 4 Bean Soup a’la Papa

 

A creation by Don Calarco

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    INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves of Garlic – sliced thin
  • 1 cup of white wine (pinot grigio is best)
  • 1 1/2 pounds mild Italian sausage, removed from the casing
  • 5 slices prosciutto, hot pancetta or cappicola ham, thinly sliced into strips
  • 2 medium onions, small dice
  • 3 medium carrots, small dice (or use a peeler and make strips for a nice touch)
  • 2 medium celery stalks, small dice
  • 1 tablespoon – equal combination: Thyme – Rosemary – Oregano –Pepper
  • 2 (15.8 ounce) cans Cannellini white beans, drained and rinsed (Great Northern White Beans)
  • 1 can Chick-Peas (Garbonzo Beans)– drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans Red Kidney beans
  • 1 can – LaPreferida re-fried beans (mashed beans)
  • 1 28 0z. can of Italian plum tomatoes (chopped) (not crushed) Plus a small can of Tomato Paste
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 large handful of fresh Spinach leaves; stems removed, rinsed, bunched and sliced once or twice (not chopped)
  • 1 cup (or more) Parmesan and Romano cheese

PREPARATION (line up all ingredients, once prepared)

  • Pour a nice glass of wine and enjoy it while preparing
  • Rinse all beans together – thoroughly – then rinse again!!
  • Blend spices: Thyme – Rosemary – Oregano – Black Pepper
  • Prepare Onions – Carrots – Celery
  • Slice garlic – thin, lengthwise
  • Slice Prociutto (or Pancetta or Capicola) into strips
  • Wash, rinse, bunch and slice spinach once or twice (leaves only – no stems)
  • Remove sausage from skin and separate

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large, deep soup kettle over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add sausage; cook, stir and break up into small bite sized pieces (larger is just as good), until browned .  Pour yourself another glass of wine. Add Garlic and sauté about 5 minutes. (Sausage may not be fully cooked at this point.)Remove Sausage and all the garlic from pan and add the strips of Procuitto and sauté, stirring for about three minutes.  Add 1/2 the wine and Sauté for 2 more minutes to burn off the alcohol.
  2. Add onions, carrots, celery and spices to the skillet; cook, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes. These veggies may start to appear dry….add the rest of the wine and saute until all are soft.
  3. Add chicken broth, whole and mashed beans, and garlic/sausage; stir well to break up the mashed beans and cover.  Bring to a bubbling simmer.Add tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to blend the paste.  Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, partially covered, to blend flavors, 20 minutes – Blend in a cup of Parmesan Cheese (more if you like…I like).Drop in spinach during last three minutes of cooking and stir.  Turn off heat. Let rest 10 minutes Serve with lots of parmesan cheese and crispy Italian bread.  Add Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. OPTION:  Add a ½ cup of cooked pasta (elbows or pastina) to each serving.

Tip this batch will feed a small army, so portion out into Tupperware and freeze.  Reheat and enjoy whenever!

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