I strongly suggest to prepare this soup a day in advance and chill, the flavors intensify, you may adjust all amounts to taste --- this makes quite a lot of soup you may reduce amounts if desired or freeze for the next meal --- you will love this soup!
- 2 1⁄2 lbs Italian sausage (removed from casings)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large carrots, peeled and coarsley chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried chili pepper flakes (optional or to taste)
- 3 teaspoons dried basil (or to taste)
- 2 -3 quarts chicken broth
- 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinced and drained (white beans)
- 2 cups large uncooked shell pasta
- 12 ounces fresh spinach (can use frozen)
- 1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese (or to taste)
- salt and black pepper
- Heat olive oil in a 8-10-quart pot over medium-high heat.
- Add in the sausage meat; cook until browned (about 8-10 minutes) remove the meat to a plate or bowl.
- Add in the onion, carrots, basil and dried chili flakes; saute for about 5-6 minutes adding in the garlic the last couple minutes.
- Add in chicken broth, tomatoes with juice and drained beans; bring to a boil, cover with lid and cook at medium-low for about 30 minutes.
- Add in pasta shells; reduce heat and simmer until the pasta is firm-tender (about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Skim any fat that has accumulated on top of the soup, then stir in about 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and the fresh spinach; cook until the spinach is just wilted (about 1-2 minutes).
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Pass more Parmesan cheese at the table.