I was going to make my Italian Wedding Soup but at the last minute I decided I wanted something more along the lines of a pasta e fagiol but with more veggies. So, I improvised and came up with this creation. If you can't find chicken sausage, use pork and you don't have to use cheese tortellini, it's just what I had on hand. This would be just as good with elbows or any other short pasta. This is a great, hearty and delicious soup that's even better the next day.
1 pkg. chicken sausage with tomato, cheese and herbs
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
1/2 c. fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 32 oz. containers of chicken stock
1 28 oz can of san marzano tomatoes, whole in juice
1/2 c. dry white wine
2 cans canellini beans
1 lb fresh cheese tortellini
1 piece parmesan cheese rind
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. red pepper flake
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
5 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
salt, pepper to taste
2 medium zucchini, cut in chunks
1 medium onion, diced
1 bundle fresh baby spinach,
parmesan cheese for serving
In the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, parsley, basil, garlic, celery and tomatoes and pulse until smooth. set aside
In a large soup pot, take two swirls around the pan with olive oil and let get to just below smoking point. Remove chicken sausage from casing and crumble into pan. Cook through. Add chopped carrots and zucchini and saute about 4 minutes. Add bay leaf, red pepper flake and thyme and rosemary sprig and saute until fragrant. About 3 minutes. Add wine and reduce by half.
Once the sausage mixture has reduced, add the reserved tomato mixture, beans, and add salt and pepper to taste. Let come to a boil and add parmesan cheese rind.
Add chicken stock and let come to a boil again. Cover and reduce heat. Let the soup simmer for about 1 hour. Once the soup has thickened, add tortellini and cook for about 5 more minutes. Turn off heat and add in spinach and stir until it wilts but still has a bite.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.