Friday, August 19, 2016

My version of Pasta y Fagioli with Sausage

I Love Soup!                                                                             

Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall, I love soup, I love them all. Well that's actually not true, I don't love them all, but I do love this one.  A few years ago I found myself with some spicy Italian sausage in the freezer, not being a fan of lasagna and other pasta dishes I turned to the internet for ideas and stumbles across literally thousands recipes for Pasta y Fagioli so I thought I'd give it a try. The recipe I tried was too tomatoey and the next was too bland, I decided to find the common denominators in the recipes and set out to create a version I would love. There was something about the combination of beans, sausage and kale I really like.  I make this soup often and in big batches so I can freeze it for lunches at work.  It never turns out exactly the same, and sometimes I add more or less of the ingredients depending on what is in the cupboard.  That's the Beauty of cooking, you can tweak things to meet your tastes, more beans, no problem, hate kale, use spinach, don't eat gluten, leave out the pasta. The one thing I have learned that hard way is not to skimp on the sausage, if the sausage doesn't have a good flavor, neither will the soup. I have made with traditional Italian sausage as well as Chicken and the type of meat doesn't matter, it is how good the sausage tastes that counts in this recipe. I usually get the spicy turkey Italian sausage at Byerly's/Lunds but I have found that isn't always consistent in flavor, worse case scenario is to add extra fennel and red pepper flakes on the back end to meet your taste.

The Basics
1 1/2 Lbs. Good Italian sausage
3 Cups Chopped Carrots
2 Cups Chopped Celery
2 Cups Chopped Onion
4 Garlic Cloves, diced
1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes (Use liquid)
3 Canned Cannellini Beans (Drained and rinsed well)
8-10 Cups Chicken Broth
1 small bunch Kale
1-2 TBL Italian Seasoning
1 Cup Ditalini Pasta
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parmigianino-Reggiano to sprinkle on top

  1. In a large stockpot, cook sausage over medium heat, crumble and cook until no longer pink, drain and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, saute onion, celery and carrots until tender.
  3. Add garlic saute 1 minute longer.
  4. Add 1 TB Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper and stir.
  5. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, and ditalini.
  6. Bring to a boil then reduce to low.
  7. Cook uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until macaroni is tender.
  8.  Add Kale and cook for 2-3 minutes or until kale is wilted.
Tradition is to sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano prior to serving, I do not like it in this soup at all but give it a try and decide for yourself.
If freezing, remove the portion you want to freeze BEFORE you add the pasta, sometimes pasta gets gritty when frozen and it grosses me out.