Sausage Minestrone

4 hot or mild italian sausages (about 1 lb)
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (19 oz can) red or white kidney beans,drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, mashed
1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each pepper and nutmeg
2 small zucchini, chopped
Half cauliflower, chopped
1 cup small short pasta (tubetti or macaroni)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Grated parmesan cheese

1. Prick sausages all over. In Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil over medium heat; fry sausages, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
2. Drain off fat. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring and scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add beans, 6 cups water and bay leaf; bring to boil, skimming off foam. Cut sausages into bite-size pieces; return to pan along with celery, carrots, tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
3.Add zucchini, cauliflower and pasta. Cover and cook until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes, adding more water if soup is too thick. Discard bay leaf. (Make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until cold. Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Add more water before reheating if desired.) Stir in parsley. Serve with cheese.

Makes: 8-10 servings.

Canadian Living Test Kitchen .