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Mediterranean Pasta Soup

No recipe image available.Tangy lemon peel, thyme and Italian sausage flavor this variation of classic minestrone. Garnish the hearty cold-weather soup with chunks of fresh tomato and, if you like, shredded Swiss cheese.

Recipe Ingredients:

1/4 pound mild Italian sausages, casings removed
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup dried small white beans
3 quarts chicken broth
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 small carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup dry small pasta shells
1 medium-size tomato, cut in to 1/2-inch cubes
Shredded Swiss cheese (optional)

Cooking Directions:

  1. Crumble sausage into a 4 to 5-quart pan. cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until lightly browned.
  2. Add onion, garlic, thyme and pepper; cook, stirring often, until onion is light golden, about 6 minutes.
  3. Rinse and sort beans, discarding any debris; drain. Add beans, broth and lemon peel to pan. Bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until beans are tender to bite, about 2 hours.
  4. Add carrots, celery and pasta to broth mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables and pasta are tender to bit, about 15 minutes.
  5. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Top with tomato and, if desired, sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.