It’s winter, and we know that it’s a great idea to serve our children some hot and healthy soups–but we never quite feel like they’re getting a full meal. That changes with this bountiful Italian Sausage and Pasta Soup from our friends at MyRecipe.com. For starters, let’s consider that the basic ingredients in sausage are pork, beef, turkey, or veal. Italian sausage is traditionally made of only pork, flavored with fennel seeds, chili, black pepper, and/or garlic. The type of sausage that you use for this recipe can greatly alter the taste of the final product. Vegetarian sausage can also be used, substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth. You can also substitute different types of pastas like orzo or smaller shells in place of the large shell pasta. This soup is complemented nicely with a side of crusty bread to sop up the broth. [image via myrecipes]
2 lbs hot or mild Italian sausage
3 carrots (peeled and chopped)
1 onion (peeled and chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (peeled and chopped)
3 qts fat-skimmed chicken broth
29-oz diced tomatoes
30-oz cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
1 tbsp dried basil
2 cups dried large shell shaped pasta
4 qts spinach leaves (rinsed)
Salt and pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Squeeze sausages from their casings into an 8 or 10 quart pan. Cook over high heat and stir often, breaking them apart with a spoon, until browned and crumbly – 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan.
Add the carrots, onion, and garlic; stir often until the onion is limp – 5 to 7 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes (including the juice), beans, and basil and bring to a boil.
Add the pasta and reduce the heat. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just tender to the bite – about 10 minutes. Skim and discard the fat. Stir in spinach and cook just until it is wilted – about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve soup from the pan, or pour into a tureen. Offer parmesan cheese to add to taste.
Note: You can prepare the soup through step 2 up to one day ahead of time, but do not bring the mixture to a boil. Instead, cool, cover, and chill. To reheat, lift off and discard the fat, then bring the soup to a boil.