Italian Sausage and Pasta Soup

"This is a hearty soup that can be put together quickly. If you want to make it in advance, put it together through step 5. The next day, it will be easy to lift off and discard fat, bring it to a boil and continue on with adding the pasta. This can be easily halved for a smaller group."
photo by Sharlene~W photo by Sharlene~W
photo by Sharlene~W
Ready In:
5 1/2 quarts




  • Remove casings from sausages and put them in 8-quart stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook them, stirring often and breaking them apart until browned and crumbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out and discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat from pan.
  • Add carrots, onion, and garlic; stir often until onion is limp, about 5 minutes.
  • Add broth, tomatoes with their juice, beans, and basil. Bring to a boil.
  • Add pasta, reduce heat and summer, with cover on, stirring occasionally until pasta is just tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Skim and discard fat.
  • Stir in spinach and cook just until it is wilted, about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Offer parmesan cheese to sprinkle over top to taste.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This is great! And, it's so easy you can make adjustments as needed. Everyone I've served it to loves it and asks for the recipe. I use a little less broth because I like more "stuff." I use whatever kind of stock/broth I have on hand. I omit the beans and add an extra cup or so of noodles. This is even better the second or third day, and it freezes really well. Enjoy!
  2. Made this tonight and it was delicious and hearty. Served it with crispy garlic bread. So good. And so easy. I didn’t have large shells so I substituted with cellentani. Make sure you have a very big pot when you make this, mine was almost too small.
  3. I just made this tonight. I thought it was very good and will definitely make this again. Did not change anything.
  4. This is a Sunset Magazine recipe and it consistently gets great ratings on their site as well. Some soups need to cook a long time or wait a day to have good flavor, but this one tastes good immediately and the leftovers keep getting better. I made a half recipe, using one 20-ounce package of Shadybrook Farms Italian Sausage for the protein, and one can of fire-roasted tomatoes (I like them far better than plain diced tomatoes). Using turkey sausage means you'll need to saute it in a little (like 1 Tb, maybe 2 at most) olive oil or other oil as it is very low in fat. I have a basil plant and so added some at the very end (in addition to the amount in the recipe.) Even a half recipe makes a large pot so unless you are feeding 10, I suggest halving the recipe at least the first time you make it. It freezes well, also. Using the turkey Italian sausage eliminates the need to skim off fat, as there isn't any excess, and makes the recipe much healthier without compromising the flavor. Next time I will substitute chickpeas (garbanzo beans) for the cannellini which I personally find boring. Excellent, simple recipe!
  5. Oh this soup is the absolute BEST! Half the recipe makes plenty. My daughter wants the recipe too! Just delicious. Thank you!


I live in the San Francisco area and love it here. I discovered Recipezaar (then Kitchen) in 2001 and have been so happy to have my favorite recipes stored safely here. I am mother to 7 and grandmother to 7. I love to knit, smock, sew, etc., but my favorite hobby of the moment is traditional rug hooking. This is a sample of what I do.? It's called "November".? I dyed most of the wool myself. It is made from wool flannel, cut into strips a little less than 1/4" and then worked into a linen backing. This is my 3rd rug.
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