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Sausage, broccoli and tortellini chowder

1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3 ribs celery, sliced

1 bunch broccoli florets, stems peeled and sliced (about 1 pound)

2 carrots, sliced

2 cans (14 ounces, each) chicken broth

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) low-fat cream of mushroom soup

9 ounces dried cheese-stuffed tortellini, cooked and drained, or 1 package (20 ounces) refrigerated tortellini

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 quart milk

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

PREPARATION: In Dutch oven or stock pot, add sausage, onion and garlic over medium heat. Crumble sausage as it cooks.

When sausage is cooked through, add celery, broccoli, carrots and chicken broth. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add mushroom soup, cooked tortellini, pepper, basil and thyme. Heat through. Whisk cornstarch into milk. Add to soup, blending well. Stir in Parmesan cheese; mix well. Heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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