March 20, 2012

Vegetable and Spicy Sausage Soup

We love this soup (adapted from a recipe by Ellie Krieger). It is healthy, flavorful and easy to make. The use of the sausage and cheese as garnish give you the flavor without taking over the soup while pureeing some of the beans with the veggies makes it super creamy without a bunch of fat. Enjoy!

4 oz pork sausage (recommended: hot Italian)
1 1/2 c chopped onion
1 1/2 c chopped zucchini
3/4 c chopped carrot
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
3 c chicken broth, divided
2 - 15.5oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
1/3 c half-and-half
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Grated parmesan or asiago cheese for garnish

Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add sausage to pan, and cook for 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Return pan to medium heat. Add onion, zucchini, carrot, celery, 1/4 tsp salt, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables slightly softened, stirring frequently. Place 1 cup vegetable mixture, 1/2 c broth, and 1 can of the beans in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. You can use a large bowl and an immersion blender instead of a food processor/blender if you prefer (I do...easier clean up). 

Return pureed bean mixture to pan. Add remaining 2 1/2 c broth, canned tomatoes, red pepper and remaining beans, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables tender. Remove from heat and add the half and half, rosemary, and   salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with 1 TBS cooked sausage and a sprinkling of cheese. 

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