Slow Cooker Italian Chili

Serves 4-6

  • 1 lb. hot Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, undrained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry red wine (can use water or low-sodium chicken, beef, or vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup uncooked whole wheat short pasta such as rotini, macaroni or ditalini
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus additional for serving
  1. Cook the sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until brown, stirring to crumble. Drain most of the fat, leaving about a tablespoon of fat in the skillet with the sausage. Add diced onion and the next 6 ingredients (onion through salt), and cook for 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Place meat mixture in an electric slow cooker; stir in beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and red wine.
  2. Cover with lid, and cook on low heat setting for 4 hours. After 4 hours, add pasta to slow cooker and stir until all pasta is submerged in liquid; turn heat to high and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Stir in 3 tablespoons chopped parsley. Scoop into bowls and top with additional fresh parsley if desired.

NOTE: The chili can be made on the stovetop if you don’t have a slow cooker. Instead of transferring mixture to slow cooker, leave on stovetop and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered, 1½ hours. Then, bring back to a boil and stir in pasta; cook until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.

Smartpoints: 10

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