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  • Minestra della zucca del fagiolo edella salsiccia
    (Italian Sausage and Bean Pumpkin Soup)
    Recipe contributed by Joanna Ripepi-Gotwald
    • 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
    • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
    • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (sweet, mild or hot; I like HOT best)
    • 2 cups fresh baby bella mushrooms, chopped
    • 1/2 cup minced onion
    • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
    • 1/2 cup half-n-half or heavy cream (if using heavy cream also add 1/2 cup water)
    • 2 cloves chopped fresh garlic
    • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained well
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    In a stock pot, heat olive oil, add minced onions and chopped carrots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes stirring often. Add the chopped garlic and sausage crumbling the sausage as it cooks and stirring often. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook stirring often until the mushrooms start to get tender. Drain some of the fat off and put the sausage mixture in a 7 quart crockpot. Add the canned pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg and combine well; stir in the chicken broth and mix well. Turn the crockpot on low and cook for 6 to 7 hours. At 6 or 7 hours, add the half-n-half and the well drained white beans. Stir together well and continue to cook for another 60 minutes. The soup is now ready to serve. Season individually with salt and pepper and for added heat you can season with red pepper flakes. Float some BIG resturant style garlic croutons on top or serve with thick slices of crusty warm Italian bread.

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