Pasta Fagioli with Sausage
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sweet or hot bulk Italian sausage, or links, casings discarded
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 to 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs rosemary (or dry eq.)
3 to 4 sprigs thyme (or dry eq.)
Salt and pepper
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth
One 18-ounce can cannellini beans
1 cup ditalini pasta
Grated pecorino-romano or parmigiano-reggiano cheese, for serving
Crusty bread, for mopping
1. In a soup pot, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Crumble in the sausage and cook, stirring, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth, beans and 2 cups water, cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Stir in the ditalini, lower the heat and simmer until al dente. Discard the bay leaf and rosemary and thyme stems.
3. Serve the soup in bowls with a drizzle of EVOO and lots of cheese. Serve with bread for mopping.