Well hello there from an 80-degree October day in New Jersey. I’m not complaining, but I’m also not about to be demure with the soup. It’s decorative gourd season, mofos. (Never gets old, am I right?) And that means it’s soup season too. Second time in a week (oh hi, Monday soup), and I’m not sorry. Today we’re all about Italian sausage soup with white beans, spinach and pasta shells.
This easy soup sports a tomato-ish broth situation. It’s hearty and veggie-packed. It feeds a small crowd or a family for a couple of weeknight dinners. It’s quick to make. And we’re eating it for dinner this very evening, in a house that’s getting stuffy because I’m too lazy to open the windows. I mean, I’d open them, but then I might have to close them in the morning if it’s freezing, and that’s just hard.
I blame decorative gourds.
Here’s a protip for anytime you make soup with pasta in it. Consider cooking the pasta separately and tossing it with a little olive oil. Then, when you’re ready to serve, stir some pasta into the soup in each individual serving bowl. That way the pasta won’t slurp up all the broth before you have a chance to. This is an especially good idea when you might have leftovers. You know I’m not into shoulds. But this is a good call, just sayin.
That’s all for today. Talk to you soon.
Italian Sausage Soup with Beans and Spinach
This hearty and veggie-packed soup is great for a crowd or for several family dinners. Protip: cooking the pasta separately and adding it to serving bowls prevents the shells from soaking up all the broth in the pot, especially if you have leftovers.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage meat
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
- 2 large carrots, diced small
- 2 large celery stalks, diced small
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 8 cups good chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 26.5-ounce box (or similar size can) chopped tomatoes
- 1 pound pasta shells
- 2 15.5-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces baby spinach
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Grated parmesan or pecorino, for serving
Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Remove sausage from casings (if you bought links) and crumble it into the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is browned and cooked through. Remove sausage to a plate and spoon out and discard all but about two tablespoons of fat from the pot.
Lower heat to medium. Add onion, carrots and celery and stir to coat with fat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are fairly tender and veggies are lightly browned in spots. Add garlic and cook, stirring, one minute more.
Stir in stock and tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer for five minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta shells to al dente in a separate pot of well salted water. Drain and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil.
Back in the big soup pot, add beans, reserved sausage and spinach. Simmer until spinach is wilted. Off the heat, stir in parsley and black pepper to taste.
Ladle soup into bowls, stirring some pasta shells into each. Serve with cheese to pass at the table.