Italian Sausage & Tortellini Soup

So this is my favorite new soup and I think you will love it too.  I had kind of vowed to stop sharing soup recipes, but what can I say, this one is delicious and since I have made it multiple times in the last weeks, that makes it worth sharing.  I recently made a double batch of this soup for a holiday party and I don’t think it is an overstatement to say it was gobbled up and gone.  This Italian Sausage & Tortellini Soup is adapted from one published in the October 1993 issue of Bon Appetit.  And although it is not a new recipe, it is one worth keeping close at hand.

There is something truly lovely about the richness of this soup.  It uses many tablespoons-worth of dried herbs and then simmers for 40 minutes, creating a rich, stewy flavor that is perfect for winter eating.  It also is very easy to pull together and makes the house smell incredible.  This soup works well for a group and can definitely be put in the category of “main dish”, as the pasta and sausage create a heartiness that is nicely filling.  I have made this soup with both pork and chicken sausage and did not notice any appreciable difference, so use whichever you prefer.  I have made it with both chicken & beef broth, and felt both worked well.  I also added some of the slow-roasted tomatoes that I made this summer and froze for later use.  This added to the developed flavor, but is certainly not necessary.  This is a very flexible recipe that adapts well with whatever you have on-hand.  Substituting swiss chard or kale for the zucchini might be nice as well.  Have fun experimenting with this delicious winter dish!

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Italian Sausage & Tortellini Soup

  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage (pork, turkey, or chicken), casings removed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 4 cups beef stock or canned broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (I use a 14.5-ounce can of muir glen chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium-sized green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 8 to 10 ounces purchased fresh cheese tortellini
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté Italian sausage in heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling with back of spoon, about 10 minutes. using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large bowl. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from Dutch oven. Add onion and garlic to Dutch oven and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Return sausage to Dutch oven. Add stock, 1 cup water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, wine, basil and oregano. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.)

Add tortellini to soup and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. If soup has thickened, add the additional cup of water at this point.  Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

Even my little taste-tester approved… Enjoy!

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Soul Satisfying Winter Soup

The flu and winter colds are currently making their way around Seattle with a vengeance.  We have been washing hands and spraying sanitizer like mad trying to keep it out of our home, but to no avail.  Our family spent the weekend, laying low, quarantined due to snotty noses and fevers.  I thought today would be the day to get out for an adventure, but unfortunately the symptoms persist.  I am a firm believer in keeping germs to ourselves when possible,  so, in order to assuage my own bout with stir craziness I started looking around for a cooking project to stimulate the senses.

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I love soup.  It is one of the things I really enjoy cooking (and eating).  There is something so soul satisfying about eating a bowl of homemade soup.  While sick kiddos napped today, I tried a new recipe.  I had been thinking about the  Portobella Mushroom Soup served at Palomino Restaurant and how the mushroom soups I have tried to make in the past just did not live up to it.  So, being the resourceful gal that I am, I googled “palomino portobello mushroom soup”, just to see if someone else had imagined recreating this deliciousness.  Ha!  The first thing on the list is a recipe on epicurious.com, receiving 3.5/4 stars.  I may not be very creative with this idea, but I am also not the only one fantasizing about this yummy soup!  The one annoyance with this particular recipe is that it looks to be scaled down from the large restaurant recipe with a few errors.  The below recipe is adapted and inspired by both Palomino and epicurious.

Portobello Mushroom Soup

2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 medium leeks (white and green) cross sliced at 1/4″
1 large yellow onion, diced
8 oz portabello mushrooms, chopped
12 oz crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup all- purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock, plus 2 cups water
2 oz. dry sherry
8 oz cream
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. kosher salt

Melt 1/3 of the butter in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add leaks and onions.  Saute until tender.  Add mushrooms and saute for five minutes.  In a second pot, melt remaining butter.  Add flour and cook roux for five minutes.  Slowly add in chicken stock and whisk until incorporated.  Add water, whisk until incorporated.  Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to keep roux from sticking to bottom of pot.  Add cream, cayenne pepper and salt to mushroom and leek mixture.  Stir in sherry.  Strain the thickened chicken stock mixture into the mushroom and leek mixture. Let soup slowly simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until all ingredients are completely incorporated.  Adjust consistency by adding more water or a touch more cream as necessary.  (I blended a portion of the soup in order to achieve a little smoother texture.)  Garnish soup with a swirl of port wine.

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I am very happy with how this recipe turned out.  The ingredients of sherry and cayenne pepper add a kick and help capture the depth and complexity of the Palomino version.  I will definitely be making this recipe again.  This soup may not exactly be low in fat, but it is made with real ingredients and when paired with a simple green salad makes for a lovely and satisfying winter dinner.

We will be enjoying it tonight!

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Author note: I am the first to say this is not the most beautiful soup to look at, but I guarantee that it is delicious!