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Winter Arrives in the Finger Lakes

A change in the weather is something that folks who live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State have to frequently deal with.  For the last three or four years our falls have hung on through September, October, and even through November.

The First Snow of 2019 in Canandaigua, NY

This year the last of our fall weather ended on October 18th when we received 6-10 inches of heavy wet snow beginning overnight on the 18th and continuing into Friday the 19th of October. The arrival of the first winter storm is like when you are having a party and then there is a knock at the door and the local police tell you to quiet down as the neighbors are complaining! And so our fall weather ended and there was no doubt in my mind; the party was over!

Since the 19th of October there has been a scurry of pick-up trucks on the roads, pulling boats to the local dealers to have them shrink wrapped and prepared for winter storage.  There’s nothing like a good freeze and winter storm to motivate the procrastinators into storing our outdoor things like boats and lawn tools and then frantically searching for winter equipment like ice scrappers, shovels, and snow blowers.

If you have been working outside in the cold, I’m sure that your appetite has picked up and now is the premiere time to get out the crock pot and make sometime nice for dinner. My fb friend Sharon Whitmarsh who lives in the Southern Tier of New York State posted this recipe for sausage, bean, and pasta stew.  I told her that I would give it a try and let her know how it turned out. Well Sharon, we have a winner here and it’s perfect for a cold dark winter evening meal.

You will need a 5 quart slow cooker for this recipe which will serve four hungry country folks. Here are the ingredients:

– 2 onions cut up

– 2 carrots cut up

– 4 cloves of garlic finely cut up

– 1 15.5 oz. can of Geoya cannellini beans

– 1 14.5 oz. can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes

– 1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage (I used sweet)

– 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (I used Wegmans 32 oz. free range broth)

– 1 cup of ditalini pasta

– Some grated Parmesan cheese

– 1/2 tsp. black pepper


Add all ingredients to the crock pot with the exception of the sausage, the pasta, and the Parmesan cheese. Turn on the crock pot to high.

Cut up the sausage in about ¾” pieces and then brown them on the stove in a pot which has a little olive oil added to the bottom. After browning, add the entire contents of the stove pot to the crock-pot. Reduce the heat of the crock-pot to low and allow ingredients to cook overnight.


When serving the stew, reheat to steaming hot on the stove. Prepare the pasta just before serving and place in a separate bowl on the table. Also serve with a jar of Parmesan cheese. Let each person add their own pasta and cheese according to their individual taste.

We like to freeze half of the recipe and when you serve the stew again, the pasta will be cooked just the way you like it!

My wife Jeanette says “don’t change a thing”. And I have to agree. Thanks to Sharon we have a winner!

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