I apologize for not knowing the source of this recipe. It has been sitting in my file for months (maybe years) unused until recently and I forgot to list the source on it when originally copying it down. I apologize if anyone reading this has provided me with this recipe.
This is, according to my kids, a delicious soup. I have made it twice in the past few weeks and both times it was really tasty. I made the recipe almost exactly as it was written, except that I didn't have cauliflower on hand, so I added way more carrot slices.
4-5 mild Italian sausages (about 500 grams), chopped into tiny pieces
1 tsp oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (19 oz each) of red or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I used red)
2-3 bay leaves
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (I added more than this b/c I didn't have cauliflower on hand)
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano (I probably used 2+ tsp)
1 1/2 tsp salt (I used less)
1/4 tsp each, pepper and nutmeg
2 small zucchini, chopped (I sliced, then quartered the slices)
half cauliflower, chopped (I didn't have cauliflower on hand, so I added lots more carrot)
1 cup small short pasta, uncooked (I used macaroni)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (optional - I used this b/c I love parsley)
Grated parmesan cheese
Fry sausage bits in the oil (if using), until cooked. Set aside.
Add the chopped onions and garlic to the pot; cook, stirring up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add kidney beans, 6 cups of water, and bay leaves; bring to a boil, skimming off any foam (I didn't have foam because I rinsed the beans well before adding them to the pot)
Return the sausage pieces to the pot, along with celery, carrots, tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add zucchini, cauliflower, and pasta. Cover and cook until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes, adding more water if the soup is too thick (I didn't add extra water - I like thick soup).
Discard bay leaves.
Stir in parsley.
Serve with cheese.