Bean and Pasta Soup with Sausage

2 14 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 14 oz. cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

Olive oil

1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage, with or without casings

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp finely minced rosemary

3 14 oz. cans of chopped tomatoes, drained

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

6 oz. small pasta (anellini, ditalini, orzo, small shells, etc.)

Puree one can each of the cannellini and garbanzo beans in a blender with some of the chicken stock to make a smooth, thick liquid. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about ten minutes. (They should be about 160, if you have an instant-read thermometer.) Remove from pot. When cool enough to handle, halve the sausages lengthwise and then cut crosswise into half-circle slices.

Turn the heat down to low, and add another 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan (if you feel that enough fat is remaining, don’t) and add the garlic and rosemary. Keep it moving constantly so it doesn’t burn- there will be a good deal of heat leftover from the sausages. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden utensil to loosen any stuck bits of fond. After 2 minutes, add the tomatoes to the pot along with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cook these for 3 to 4 minutes. Return the heat to medium if it becomes necessary.

Add the chicken broth and pureed bean mixture to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for five minutes. Add the pasta to the simmering mixture and cook until almost tender (times vary, read the packaging and taste for doneness).

Return the sausage to the pot along with the whole beans and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle into bowls and serve.

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