Monday, July 26, 2010

Italian Sausage and Escarole Soup

I have always thought of soups as taking a long time to make. Big pots of liquid and vegetables simmering on the stove top for hours, or in the slow cooker all day on a chilly Autumn day. For summer, I tend to think of gazpacho, which requires no cooking whatsoever.

So it has been with no small pleasure that I have discovered that it can be just as quick to make a satisfying, delicious soup in the dog days of summer as it can be on the coldest winter day without heating up the house.

I feel a little silly that I did not discover this sooner. It started with the Coconut Chicken Soup I improvised when my friend gave me some Asian ingredients and I had to find something to do with them. It took less than half an hour to make and was light but satisfying at the same time.

I originally bought the escarole because it was on sale and I've never used it before. I rinsed it and spun it dry, intending to use it in a salad with the red butter lettuce I also bought. But when I tasted a little bit of it, I found that it was thicker and slightly more tough than I had thought it would be. I thought I would enjoy it more if it were cooked, and immediately thought of Italian sausage and escarole soup.

I was also going to use a can of white beans in the soup, because I know that is a common ingredient, but they were mushy and some of them looked a little off color when I opened it up, so I left them out. It was delicious without them, but next time I'll probably add them.

This takes about half an hour to make, and comes out rich and flavorful. With a tossed salad and a crusty loaf of bread, it makes the perfect summer dinner.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes


Makes 6 servings

1 tsp olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage, mild or hot depending on preference, casing removed
1/2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 Tbsp tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup ditalini, or other short pasta
1 bunch escarole, washed and roughly chopped

Heat oil over medium heat in heavy saucepan. Add sausage and cook until sausage is browned. Drain all but abut 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add onions, garlic and fennel seeds and saute until onions are translucent.

Add all of the liquids. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.

Raise heat and bring the mixture back to a boil. Add the ditalini an dstir. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Add escarole and cook until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes more.

Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (

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