Dinner at Home

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Greens and Beans with Sausage Soup

My favorite way to cook is to just see what's in the pantry and fridge and let my imagination take over. This soup is an example of that technique. Inspired by mom's Sicilian greens and beans, this hearty soup will take the chill off any cold night. You can also make a vegetarian version. Just swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock and leave out the sausage and add in an extra can of beans.

Greens and Beans Soup with Sausage

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1-lb link Italian sausage, mild or spicy, your choice
4 cups chicken stock
1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
1-2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 cups baby spinach
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans or other white beans (garbanzo, navy)
½ cup orzo or other small pasta
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic, sauté for about 5 minutes. Remove. In hot pan, sear sausage links, turning to brown evenly (only a minute or so).

Put sausage and vegetables into a slow cooker. Add chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, herbs, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Cook on low for eight hours.

At 7/12 hours, turn slow cooker up to high and add in spinach, beans, and orzo. Cook for ½ hour or until spinach has wilted and pasta is tender.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. All you need now is a nice crusty bread and some butter.

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