Ciao Italia Blog Exclusive: Sausage & Escarole Soup (Plus Soup Tips!)

February 19, 2009

One of my dearest friends once said: “soup in a can should stay there.” I could not agree more.

Before you add canned soup to your grocery cart, take a look at what’s in it: loads of salt will be one of them along with coloring agents and a host of preservatives that should make you run from the soup aisle.

To me there is nothing better on a cold and/or rainy day than soup and the great thing about it is that the ingredients to make it are probably already in your pantry and fridge.

I’m talking about celery, carrots, onions, and potatoes. Those are the big boys in the soup pot. Even limp lettuce or that two day old spinach you were going to toss can be tossed into soup instead.

Most soups can start with just water. Adding herbs gives great flavor to soup. Parsley, basil, and thyme are a few of my favorites. Parmesan or pecorino cheese rinds cut into cubes are perfect in soup and any left over cooked meat, fish, chicken, or pasta can find new life swimmng in a bowl of soup.

One day I built a potful of soup around a couple of leftover Italian sausages that I sliced into coins and combined with escarole and kale. I had some dried beans so I added them, along with the soup standards of celery, carrot, and onions and what resulted was a dense soup with lots of flavor. Never uderestimate the magic of making soup, it unlocks your culinary imagination.

Sausage and Escarole Soup

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 medium red onion, peeled and diced

1 cup celery, diced
2 all purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups kale torn into pieces
2 cups escarole, torn into pieces
1 cup diced Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rinds (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 cup cooked ditalini, orzo or other soup pasta or cooked rice
1 cup sliced cooked Italiian sausage or other cooked meat or chicken
Salt to taste
Grinding black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice

Place the onion and celery in a soup pot and just barely cover with water. Cook over medium high heat until the onions and celery are soft and most of the water has evaporated.

Add the potatoes, kale, escarole, cheese rinds and thyme. Pour enough water into the pot to cover the ingredients. Cover and cook over medium heat until the greens have wilted down and the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the pasta.and sausage. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the lime or lemon juice. Serve piping hot with crusty bread.

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