Enjoy this soup with crunchy whole wheat bread and a glass of red wine. Close your eyes and you will think you are in Tuscany.

  • 1 cup pasta shells*
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped celery
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped carrots
  • 1 can (28 ounces) Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (49ounces) fat-free chicken or beef broth, divided
  • 1 cup medium or hot salsa
  • 1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional

In a small medium saucepan, cook pasta shells in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set pasta aside.

In a large soup pot, combine ground beef and onions. Cook over medium-hot heat until meat is brown. Add celery and carrots, Cook until tender. Add tomatoes, 4 cups of broth, salsa, beans, Italian seasoning, fennel, and parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 - 40 minutes or until flavors have blended. Add additional broth to thin to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When ready to serve, warm the pasta. Add desired amount of pasta to individual bowls and top with soup.* Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese if desired.

Notes: If desired, add extra beans or choose other beans to suit your taste.

If a thinner soup is desired, add additional broth.

*Hint: Do not add pasta to the soup pot. If there is left-over soup, refrigerating the soup with the pasta will soak up some of the broth and the pasta with become swollen and soggy. Store pasta separately and add to the soup when ready to serve.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information per serving without the meat:

Calories: 290 Fat, gm.: 3 Protein, gm.: 13 Carbs, gm.: 53 Cholesterol, mg.: 0 Fiber, gm.: 10.5