1 1/4 lb. sweet Italian turkey sausage
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh, chopped thyme
2 Vidalia (sweet) onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic
48 oz. chicken broth
45 oz. (3 cans) diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1 lb. shell pasta (or gluten-free shell pasta)
1 bag spinach leaves
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Grated Parmesan, for garnish
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Heat a large Dutch oven, and begin browning turkey sausage over medium heat, making sure to crumble as you go. Add carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and sauté until tender (about 8 minutes).
Add tomatoes, beans, chicken broth and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. I usually keep it uncovered for about 30 minutes and then covered for another 2 hours. (One thing you'll learn about me is that I like to cook soups for as long as possible to bring out ALL of their flavor, but feel free to cook for less time.) About 30 minutes before serving, add the basil and spinach. Fish out the Parmesan rind as well.
Bring back up to a boil and throw in pasta. Cook until al dente. Add any additional seasonings at this point. Serve in large bowls garnished with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.