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Pumpkin Soup with Sausages

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, cut into ½-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, sliced thickly
1 red onion, chopped
8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
½ cup finely diced celery
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup dry Marsala wine
6 cups chicken stock
3 cups pumpkin puree
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup uncooked small shell pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, for serving

Heat the oil in a large saucepan set on high heat.  Add the sausages and brown for 3 minutes.  Remove the sausages and set aside.  Add the garlic, onions, mushrooms, sage, celery and thyme to the saucepan and cook on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the Marsala wine and cook for 2 more minutes.

Put the sausage back in the saucepan.  Add the chicken stock, pumpkin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Make ahead tip: you can make the soup up to this point then let it cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Before going on with the recipe, gradually warm the soup up on the stove over medium heat, stirring often.

Add the pasta, increase the heat to a soft boil and cook, stirring often to make sure the pasta is not sticking to the bottom of the pan, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 3 minutes longer.  Serve in deep pasta bowls and garnish with cheese.  Serves 4-6.

Adapted from: Nick Stellino’s Glorious Italian Cooking

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