Sausage, Kale, and Tortellini Sunday Soup

Oct 16th

Soup on Sundays is a family tradition – even when it was just “pastina”. Because we don’t technically have a dining room table (I’ll elaborate), soup is a favorite to serve for company because it’s a “whole dinner in one dish” kind of meal that is easy to eat on the floor or the couch.

First – pastina. It consists of chicken broth, “pastina” (which is the tiny star pasta), and sharp parm regg cheese. Most Saturdays and some Sundays this simple concoction would be hot on the stovetop for any takers, any time of day. My husband is a big fan now and it’s a favorite when one of us has a cold – soothing and so mind-numbingly easy that you can muster the energy to make it when sick OR crazy busy. Any Italian-American folks out there know what I’m talking about here?

And no, we don’t have a table. We don’t have an “eat in kitchen”, only a small dining room table which we’ve pushed against the wall and put a computer on top of, thus allowing more room for family dance parties. We move it back sometimes when there is “sit-down” company, but when family comes over for a bday party it’s all casual, all the way.

This soup is heartier than some I’ve posted here because of the sausage and the tortellini. This cheese filled pasta, even though nutritious (since I used whole wheat), still contains over 300 calories per cup. Thus, I call it a “Sunday Soup” because we often eat it around the start of the 4:15 football game; it needs to pack the punch that gets us through the evening. The ingredient list is long – I’m sorry – but I used so many veggies that I’d picked up at the farmer’s market on Saturday so I’m quite sure everything is in-season and very easy to find.

Sausage, Kale, and Ravioli Sunday Soup

Serves 8-10

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. Italian Style chicken (or turkey) Sausage, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

2 large (or 3 smaller) carrots, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 tbsp. tomato paste

8 c. chicken broth

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices

1 bunch kale (ideally lacinato or “dinosaur variety), stemmed and chopped

2 medium or small zucchini, diced

2 (9 oz) packages whole wheat tortellini (Buitoni recommended)

2 c. hot water

Parmesan cheese to serve

1. Heat oil in large soup pot set over medium high heat. Add oil and sausage. Saute until golden brown, then remove from pot.

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2. Without cleaning pot, add bell pepper, onion, carrot and garlic. Saute until softened, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

3. Add spices, pepper and salt and stir until combined. Clear a space in the center of the vegetables and add the tomato paste – stir frequently, letting cook for about 2 minutes.

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4. Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes and stir well, scraping spoon against the bottom of the pan to dislodge any stuck tomato paste.

5. Bring mixture to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add kale and zucchini when you lower heat to simmer. Simmer soup for about 5 minutes.

6. Add tortellini*,  2 c. water and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir well and serve, topped with cheese.

*If serving soup at a later time – prepare through step 5. Add tortellini within 20 minutes of serving so it stays intact and doesn’t get mushy.

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