I would love to travel one day to Italy and totally absorb the culture, and especially the foods. My preference would be to visit the small towns and villages and experience life as the Italians do. I could imagine stopping for lunch at a trottoria, sitting outside at a small table on a terrace and enjoying a special soup with some wonderful crusty bread and cheese. This is the soup I could imagine having in that kind of setting.
For anyone not familiar with the pasta called tortellini, they are crescent shaped and filled with meat or cheese. You can purchase them in most large supermarkets as fresh pasta in a refrigerated case or dried and shelf stable in the pasta isle. I like to keep a package of the dried variety on hand to throw into soups or casseroles, because they provide interest and extra substance, just as they do in this soup.
The book I took this recipe from has been around for a long time; from Pillsbury, ” Hearty Soups and Breads Cookbook”, 1985. The first time I made this soup we fell in love with it, and it has been in my repertoire of well-loved recipes ever since. It is very hearty with lots of vegetables and the blend of seasonings makes a well-flavored soup. If you like a spicy soup, use a hot Italian sausage, instead of the mild variety. The recipe makes a large amount, about 8 servings, but it freezes well, so its good to make and freeze some for a later meal.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE SOUP WITH TORTELLINI
YIELD: 8 SERVINGS
- 1 lb. Italian sausage, hot or mild
- 1 cup coarsely chopped onions
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 5 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup dry red wine or water
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced
- 8 oz. frozen, fresh, or dried, tortellini (or very small ravioli)
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.
- Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
1. If sausage comes in casing, remove casing. In 5-quart Dutch oven, brown sausage. Remove sausage from Dutch oven; drain, reserving 1 Tablespoon drippings in the Dutch oven.
2. Saute onions and garlic in reserved drippings until onion is tender.
Add beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, tomato sauce and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer with lid tipped, 30 minutes.
3. Stir in zucchini, tortellini and parsley. Simmer another 35 – 40 minutes until tortellini are tender.
4. To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
SOURCE: Hearty Soups and Breads, Pillsbury, 1985