Italian Sausage Bean Soup

Your friends and family will love this spicy soup, especially through the winter season.

from Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook 2005

My family loves this soup, so I make it often in the winter. For a little more heat, use spicy Italian sausage. — Lora Gross, Carson City, Nevada

You Will Need 1-1/2 pounds bulk Italian sausage 4 medium carrots, thinly sliced 2 celery ribs, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) beef broth 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup dry red wine or additional beef broth 1/3 cup uncooked elbow macaroni 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce 1/2 teaspoon salt Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

What to Do 1. Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven or soup kettle. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and Italian seasoning; cook 10 minutes longer.

2. Add the broth, beans, water, wine or additional broth, macaroni, tomato sauce and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until macaroni is tender, about 10 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serves 16 (4 quarts)