I’ve shared my views previously on the many shapes of pasta and how some shapes are better suited for one kind of dish while other shapes have their own perfect niche in your repertoire of recipes. One of my absolute favorites to use in soups is shell pasta. The reason seems obvious–they hold the broth! Just like a spoon they carry some of the yummy flavor-laden broth to your mouth.
Anyway, when I first saw this recipe for Tuscan Sausage Soup, packed with “conchiglie”, I was drawn to it. Conchiglie is the Italian word for shell, so I felt as though it was talking to me. It also includes white cannellini beans and spinach and is seasoned with garlic, onion and basil. All the flavors you would expect in a rustic Italian soup such as this one.
The recipe makes a large amount of soup, and can be easily doubled to feed a hungry crowd, or freeze some for a later date. I made the recipe as I found it except for using frozen spinach instead of fresh. You could also use kale if you wish. This is a recipe you need to have in your back pocket for when colder weather arrives and you want something warm and hearty to feed your family.
TUSCAN SAUSAGE SOUP WITH SHELL PASTA AND WHITE BEANS
YIELD: 6 servings
- 1 pound Italian sausage, bulk or links. If using links, remove casings.
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chicken broth, low sodium preferred
- 1 14.5 oz. can tomatoes, diced with juice
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 8 oz. shell pasta, whole wheat, preferred
- 6 oz. fresh spinach, or 1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, well drained
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated Parmesan cheese for topping
1. Remove casings from sausage if using links. Brown over medium-high heat in a large stock pot. Crumble as you brown it.
2. Add carrots, onion and garlic; sauté until tender and starting to get a bit golden, about 7 minutes.
3. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, pasta and basil.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking until pasta becomes a bit tender, about 7 minutes.
4. Stir in spinach and cook until it is just wilted. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve hot garnished with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
SOURCE: A Couple in the Kitchen