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Italian Sausage Soup

(Make ahead, can be adapted for slow cooker)
(Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes on stove, or 4-5 hours in slow cooker)

1 pound Italian Sausage, in casings
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup raw carrots, diced
2 cups chicken broth (I prefer boxed broth such as Kitchen Basics or Pacific Organic)
1 (15 ounce) great northern beans, un-drained
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, un-drained 
3 fresh basil leaves, minced or 2 teaspoons dried basil
2 cups cooked ditalini pasta (any small pasta can be used)
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, brown sausage on all sides for 10-15 minutes or until cooked. Remove sausage from pan and slice into ¾” slices. Wipe pan of any excess fat, but leave any browned bits if possible. Return sliced sausage to pan and sauté with onion, garlic and carrots. Add broth, beans and tomatoes. Simmer for at least 20 minutes, or longer is desired. Soup can be refrigerated at this point if you are making this ahead of time. Before serving, heat soup, add basil and serve over cooked pasta. Garnish with parmesan cheese.

Slow Cooker Directions: After sautéing sausage with onion, garlic and carrots, transfer the sausage mixture to a crock pot and add broth, beans and tomatoes. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Add basil prior to serving and serve over pasta. Garnish as directed

Serves 6

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