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Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic or garlic powder to taste
1/2 c. dry red wine or 1/2 c. water, if preferred
1/2 tsp. basil
8 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz. frozen tortellini or fancy macaroni
Parmesan cheese, grated
1 c. onions
5 c. beef broth
1/2 c. water
2 c. tomatoes, chopped
1 c. carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 c. zucchini, sliced
3 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 green pepper, coarsely chopped

Brown bulk sausage (removing it from casing if in links); drain and reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings for soup. Saute onions and garlic in drippings until tender. Add beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, spices, tomato sauce and sausage. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes; skim fat. Stir in zucchini, tortellini (or macaroni), parsley and green pepper. Simmer for 35 more minutes or until tortellini are tender. Sprinkle fresh Parmesan cheese on soup before serving, if desired.

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