Hurst's® Pasta Fagioli w/ Hot Italian Sausagehttp://www.hurstbeans.com/system/images/45/original_PF%20small.jpg
Traditional Pasta Fagioli recipes are usually meat free (this dish was originally made by peasants as a low cost meal), but some spicy sausage is an excellent addition to this delicious, authentic Italian soup.
Place the beans and pasta in a colander, rinse with cold water. Check for any small debris or unsightly beans and discard. Then in a large soup pot, bring 10-12 cups of water to a rolling boil and pour in beans and pasta. Continue to boil for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer (covered) for roughly 60-70 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
While the beans cook, prepare the fresh vegetables. Julienne the carrot and dice the onion, celery, and zucchini into 1/4″ pieces. Give the garlic cloves a rough chop.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground sausage until browned. Use a wooden spoon to break down into bite sized pieces. Add the sausage to the pot of soup. Drain off most of the excess fat, leaving only enough to saute the vegetables.
Saute the vegetables until they begin to soften and the onions become translucent. Add the garlic in during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Set aside mixture.
After 60-70 minutes, the beans should be almost completely tender and the pasta should plump up. Continue to simmer uncovered while adding the other ingredients.
Combine all of the ingredients in the pot. Add Hurst’s Italian (Vegetarian) seasoning packet, stir to combine.
Bring the soup back to a simmer and allow the flavors to combine for another 15 minutes. If you desire a more brothy soup, add water or a stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef) until desired consistency is reached.
Garnish with some freshly chopped basil and grated parmesan cheese. Serve with a slice of crusty, toasted bread. Enjoy!