Fresh herbs are added after the soup cooks so they'll retain their bright color and flavor. You can substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for each tablespoon fresh, but add them with the tomatoes. Serve with a toasted baguette.
10 ounce sweet turkey Italian sausage
1 cup prechopped onion
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup water
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can organic stewed tomatoes, undrained (such as Muir Glen)
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons grated fresh Romano cheese
How to Make It
Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and 2 teaspoons garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil, and oregano. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese.
Wine note: This delicious soup needs a wine that's crisp and medium-bodied, such as a California pinot gris (aka pinot grigio). The wine's crispness balances the richness of the sausage and the density of the beans. At the same time, the wine's body is substantial enough to stand up to the weight of those ingredients. Try Morgan Pinot Gris "R & D Franscioni Vineyard" 2006 (Santa Lucia Highlands, California), $ -Karen MacNeil