By Dianne Bunis

With the recent snow fall and my first head cold to welcome the new year, hot soup seems appropriate. While visiting family last month, my 92 year-old aunt made this soup for us, a recipe handed down from her mother, my grandmother. I asked her for the recipe and got, " a little of this, a little of that..."

Two phone calls and one pot of soup later, I came up with, as close as possible, the family recipe. A soup rich with flavor from the sausage, vegetables and herbs, to enjoy all winter long for lunch or dinner. Buon appetitio!

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Sweet Italian sausage, 3 links (Wild Harvest all-natural, without nitrates)

1 carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stalked, chopped

1 23 oz. can all-natural diced tomatoes

1 15 oz. can white beans

2 cups organic broth, chicken or vegetable

1 cup fresh spinach

1 tsp. dried basil

1 dried bay leaf

salt and black pepper

1 1/2 cups Barilla® Piccolini Mini Farfalle pasta

Open sausage links to remove meat, discarding the skin. In a sauté pan, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown sausage on medium heat. Drain and set aside.

In a soup pot on medium heat, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil, add onions, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and vegetables are tender. Add sausage, tomatoes, spinach, broth and bay leaf. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium pan of boiling water, cook pasta according to directions MINUS 2 minutes.

Drain pasta and add to soup. Lastly, add beans, stir and cook for 15-20 minutes on low heat.

Serve with a green salad and rustic bread. dd shaved romano cheese to individual soup bowls for garnish and flavor.