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Author Notes: This was a classic fall weekend dinner growing up and one of my favorite comfort foods. My mom never makes this soup exactly the same way twice, it all depends on what's coming out of the garden and lying in the pantry. But the kale and sausage combo is one of my favorites. You can easily make it vegetarian, but I would add fennel seeds and red pepper flakes to capture some of the flavors the sausage brings.
If you have leftover roasted tomato sauce lying around it can also be a great addition.
- 2 links sweet italian sausage (about 3/4 lb), casing removed
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-3 carrots, medium chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 3-4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 large zucchini, medium chopped
- 1 bunch of green beans, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 small bunch of kale, chopped
- 1 can chickpeas
- Salt and Pepper to tast
- Olive oil
- 1 lb pasta shells or other small pasta
- In a stockpot or dutch oven over medium high heat, brown sausage, breaking the links up as they cook
- Once sausage begins to brown, add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes
- Add carrots, oregano, thyme, basil and bay leaves. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown
- Add tomatoes, 3 cups of vegetable stock, zucchini and green beans. Season generously with pepper. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cover
- Let simmer, covered for at least 20 minutes. (But longer can only make it better- wait a bit to add the green beans if you plan to cook it much longer)
- Add chickpeas. Add more salt and pepper if needed, to taste. If soup seems thick you can add another cup of stock. Recover and continue to let simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanch kale about 2 minutes and remove from water (But keep pot of water over heat)
- Add pasta to water and cook until al dente. Drain and return to pot or large bowl. Toss with olive oil and chopped parsley. Put aside until ready to serve soup
- Add blanched kale to soup in the final 5 minutes of cooking
- To serve, spoon pasta into guests' bowls (or let them help themselves) and laddle soup over top. Serve with crusty bread and shredded parmigiana reggiano.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Autumn Soup