- 1 cup dry white cannellini beans (or 15 ounce can)
- 1 pound chicken or turket sweet Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 ounce bag of baby spinach, washed and patted dry
- 1 can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
- 32 ounces chicken stock (or equivalent made from water & bouillon cubes)
- 1 cup tomato juice (or water) -- only if needed
- 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
- In a saucepan, combine beans with 4 cups warm water. Boil for five minutes, then cover and set aside for at least 1 hour. (If using canned beans, you can skip this step.) Drain, rinse, and return to saucepan. Set aside.
- Slice sausage into "coins" about 1/2" thick (or simply remove from casing). Preheat oil a large stockpot. Add sausage and cook for for 5-7 minutes or until mostly cooked through.
- Add spinach to stockpot and cook until wilted, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and chicken stock to stockpot. Heat to boiling. Add beans. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until beans are mostly softened. (If using canned beans, you can skip this step -- just add beans and proceed directly to Step 5.)
- Add macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 15-20 minutes or until noodles are completely cooked. If necessary, add additional tomato juice so there is enough liquid to cover noodles completely plus about 1/2" of additional liquid.
- Let sit for 5 minutes before serving with grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.
If you know what you're doing and you feel inspired, you can add other stuff to this, or make this with mini shells or ditalini instead of elbows. Hot Italian sausage can work, too, if you like that stuff (we find it not toddler-friendly). Not sure what to call this concoction -- it's sort of Italian wedding soup, sort of minestrone, sort of goulash, all thrown into a stockpot -- but it's good. Hope you like it!
PS -- Tried to take pictures of this. Was not successful. Doesn't look as good as it tastes.