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Recipe: Pasta Fagioli With Italian Sausage

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Today's recipe is for a simple Italian dish called "pasta fagioli" with crumbled Italian sausage.

Ingredients:
1/2-pound ditalini pasta (or another small sized pasta shape)
3-4 links Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1-2 Tbs olive oil for browning sausage
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small to medium carrot, peeled and finely diced (optional)
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
2 15-ounce cans cannelini beans
grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Procedure:
Get a pot of water going for eventually cooking the pasta.

Use a large, somewhat deep pan to brown up four crumbled links of Italian sausage in a little olive oil.

While that's happening, finely mince a clove of garlic or two, finely dice one small onion and peel and finely dice a small to medium size carrot as well.

Take the sausage out of the pan when it has browned up, add a little more oil to the pan and saute the onion and carrot to soften up a bit.

At this point, once the water comes to a boil, add 1/2 pound pasta to the water and stir that around.

Once the onions have softened up, add the garlic and cook that along for a minute, then add two cups canned crushed tomatoes, two cups chicken stock and two 15-ounce cans of white beans and bring it up to a simmer. If you only have one 15-ounce can of tomatoes that will be enough.

Adjust the heat on it so it stays at a nice steady simmer and then, once the pasta is done, drain it and add that and the sausage to the sauce.

Turn the heat off and let it sit for 5 - 10 minutes before serving. Letting the meal rest for a bit before serving gives the pasta a chance to absorb some of the broth and thicken up a little.

Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

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