What makes this sausage, beans and roasted vegetable soup so delicious? Red bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic are roasted, then blended with a vegetable broth and seasoned with a herb bouquet garni--creating a beautifully rich yet subtle flavor-filled soup base. Sweet Italian sausage and a Vidalia onion add a layer of sweetness and texture along with cannellini beans. —shirley a byrd
Sweet Italian sausage links, casing removed and chopped in bite size pieces
Vidalia onion, chopped
large red bell peppers, cut in half and seeds removed
large beef steak tomatoes (or 3 smaller tomatoes), cut in half and seeds removed
garlic cloves, peeled and halved
Olive oil, 100% pure (not the virgin olive oil which does not take high heat
vegetable broth, unsalted
Salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper (optional)
herb bouquet garni, tied (includes 3 each fresh sprigs of oregano, thyme and rosemary)
fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced in strips
Fresh Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish (optional)
Toss bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic in olive oil. Place vegetables and garlic face down on a cookie sheet. Bake 45 minutes
While vegetables and garlic roast, melt butter in the Dutch oven pot on medium heat. Add onions and sauté until just translucent, about 2 minutes. Remove onions. Add sausage pieces, cook until brown while stirring periodically. Remove from pot
Remove skin from roasted vegetables after they have cooled. Add vegetables and garlic to the pot. Add vegetable broth and tomato paste. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
Spoon soup into a blender and purée for about 5 minutes. Then return soup to the pot. Add onions, sausage, beans, herb bouquet and basil leaves. Cover and simmer on low heat 5-6 minutes.
Remove bouquet garni, serve and garnish with parmigiano cheese.
There are of course short cuts to this recipe. You can purchase roasted red bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic. Just be sure to check the ingredients list. You can also use dry rather than fresh herbs but add the dry herbs earlier in the cooking processes. Dry herbs need more time to release their flavors. Personally, I have never tried these options. Soups are dishes I think always taste much, much better with fresh (or frozen) ingredients, especially when eaten as left overs.