For years now, I’ve made this soup on Christmas Eve. This year we had it a bit early to celebrate with Will and Anna. It’s hearty and perfect on a cold day (which we did not have this time!). I wish I’d thought to take a picture or two.
2 lbs bulk Italian sausage (I use mild)
2 c. onions, chopped
2 c. carrots, diced
4 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 c. chicken broth
2 cans (14 1/2 oz) Italian-style stewed tomatoes
2 cans (1 15oz and 1 8 oz) tomato sauce
2 cups small pasta (I usually use whole-wheat mini penne)
4 c. fresh spinach, chopped
2 c. Provolone cheese or fresh mozzarella, diced
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
5 T. thinly sliced fresh basil
Brown sausage in a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium high heat. Add onions and carrots; saute 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and garlic, and saute another 3 minutes.
Add broth, stewed tomatoes (unless you want big chunks of tomato in your soup, it’s a good idea to run a sharp knife or kitchen scissors around in the can before you add the tomatoes), and tomato sauce, and bring to a boil. Drop in pasta and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes, or according to pasta directions. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted.
Divide Provolone or mozzarella cheese among serving bowls, and pour soup on top. Garnish with Parmesan and basil.
This makes a big pot of soup, and leftovers are good. You could easily half the recipe. The pasta soaks up the liquid as it sits, so when you reheat, you might want to add more chicken broth to thin it out.