A Solution to Cold Weather Weeknights – Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup

So last week I came down with what I will refer to as the Lowcountry Crud of 2017. Everyone I know has had some version of an awful chest/head cold that simply can’t be shaken for about two weeks. No combination of antibiotics, vile tasting over the counter remedies or rest can beat this sucker. I even tried Uncle Pete’s old home remedy of lemon juice, honey, vodka and hot water. Despite tasting really good and being somewhat soothing to my horribly irritated throat, it didn’t actually help. I now suspect that winter colds may have been an excuse to take a weeknight nip now and then. Ah, but I digress.

Chef J and I typically do some parental job sharing during the week when The Boy has kung fu classes. On the nights I take him to class, Chef J cooks at home. When J takes him, I cook. So of course my cooking night fell on the first day of The Crud. I had been awakened the previous night with a sore throat and knew what was coming as Chef J had been taken down the weekend before by the vile virus. I powered through my day at work and, although I didn’t feel awful, I was a little run down and had complete and total laryngitis. So when they got home from class, I was curled up in a little ball under a blanket with the dog. Chef J offered to cook but, nope, I wasn’t going to let a little Crud keep me down. Plus the one who does not cook, cleans. I like to cook and I hate to clean.

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Saute sausage until brown then add garlic. Add in tomato paste and dried herbs, then canned tomatoes and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes before adding cheese (if using), pasta and kale. Adjust seasoning and add beans and more stock as needed

So I dragged my butt into the kitchen and made what ended up being just what the doctor ordered. I had planned on making this soup later in the week but it just needed to happen while the two adults were still under the weather and we were beginning to hear rumblings of a “scratchy throat” from The Boy. The spiciness of the sausage was enough to kind of open up the sinuses a bit. And lord knows chicken soup can heal just about anything.

This uses really easy to find ingredients and is pretty healthy. I’ve been trying to knock off a few pounds lately so I picked around the pasta in mine but you could leave it out or add more if you are trying to stretch your budget and feed a crowd. It would also be excellent with some refrigerated ravioli or tortellini. Served with a chunk of crusty bread and a salad, you’ve got a full weeknight meal that is comforting and quick. I’m not going to say that this healed me completely, but for one brief night, we all felt a little better.

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Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup with Kale

  • 1 pkg. (12 -16 oz.) bulk Italian sausage, spicy or mild (my supermarket was out of spicy bulk this week so I had to use links this time)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained (fire roasted if you can find them)
  • 32 oz. low-sodium chicken stock (you may need more so grab two boxes to be safe)
  • 1/4 C grated parmesan or romano cheese (optional)
  • 4 C chopped kale (chop it small enough that it’ll fit on your spoon)
  • 6-8 oz. dry or refrigerated pasta (I use mafalda but you could use any small pasta), optional
  • 1 14 oz. can canellini beans, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage in large pot or dutch oven over medium heat until almost all pink is gone. Stir in garlic and continue to cook for a minute or two. Add tomato paste and dried herbs and cook for about two minutes. Dump in your can of tomatoes and stir to combine. Add in 1 box of chicken stock and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and, if desired, add grated parmesan, stirring well so that it completely melts into the broth (I find that it adds just a little depth to the flavor of the soup). 

Add pasta and chopped kale and cook until pasta is ALMOST cooked through. If you find that your soup isn’t very soupy anymore because the pasta soaked up all the broth, add more broth until it’s desired consistency. Stir in drained beans and warm through for about 2 minutes.

Ladle into shallow bowls and dig in.

** You can adapt this to be kosher by using kosher chicken or turkey italian sausage and leaving out the cheese.

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