It's been a very cold, cozy week and I find myself curled up on the couch with little willpower to put down my knitting and climb out from under my blanket. I might be eighty years old, or I might just be trying to survive these 7 degree days the best way I know how.
This soup is my ideal winter meal. It can be made in less than an hour, and it's healthful and hearty.
This is also a really easy recipe to multiply if you need to feed a crowd. Or, you know, if you're just really hungry.
This soup begins with chicken sausage. I always buy mine at Trader Joe's. I love every single flavor they carry. We are working with a sweet Italian sausage here, though if you wanted to go with something spicy that would be excellent too.
The sausage is browned with garlic until the edges are crisp and golden.
Vegetable broth, carrots, cannellini beans, and a pinch of red pepper flakes join the party.
After the broth has simmered for a bit and the flavors have had a chance to meld, a couple handfuls of spinach are tossed in to wilt slightly.
This would be a good time to pop some bread under the broiler.
Our soup is ladled over freshly cooked pasta. I like to cook the pasta separately so that it does not steal away all of the yummy broth as it sits.
Top with a spoonful of pesto and a hefty dose of grated parmesan.
Dinner is served.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE & PESTO SOUP
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3, 2.5 ounce fully cooked sweet Italian chicken sausages, diced
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup baby carrots, sliced
- 1, 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 lb dried rigatoni
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
Cook's Note: I like to cook the pasta separately so that it does not soak up too much of the broth and become mushy. This is especially important if you are making the soup in advance or are planning on leftovers.
Heat olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium high heat and add garlic and sausage. Cook, stirring every so often, until the sausage is brown and the edges are crisp. This should take 7-9 minutes.
Once the sausage has browned, add in vegetable broth, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and carrots. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, fill a 3-quart saucepan with water and salt liberally. Bring to a rolling boil and add rigatoni. Cook until al dente; about 9 minutes.
Uncover the simmering soup and add cannellini beans. Continue to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in spinach.
Drain the cooked pasta thoroughly and divide amongst 4 bowls. Ladle the finished soup over the pasta and top with a spoonful of pesto and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan. Serve alongside warm, toasted bread. Enjoy!