Saturday, March 9, 2013

Italian Sausage, Kale and Tortellini Soup

Based on recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod:  

It has been a cold winter...the bite-through-to-your-bones type of cold.  From earlier posts, you have noticed that I have been making stick-to-your-bones type meals to keep all that nasty cold out, and hopefully keeping us from getting colds!  However, those meals are not the most calorie friendly, and, with spring creeping just around the corner, I would prefer not to have to wait to wear some more figure friendly clothes when the time is right, so I decided to look for a healthier meal that won't make us too roly poly by the time the bulbs start to bloom.  I also have been trying to experiment with vegetables I am not used to using, such as kale.  

This was a great recipe, loved by all (meaning the husband :-)), and a great addition to our winter soups!  I changed it up a little bit, and with the added kick of heat from the hot Italian sausage, it was just our style.  It's even better as leftovers with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.  Enjoy!


1 lb. Italian Sausage (I used Hot Italian Sausage, but you don't have to.  It just gives the soup an added kick)

and remove from the casing.  Roll the Italian Sausage into 1/4 teaspoon size balls.  In a large skillet, brown the mini sausage balls until cooked through. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Drain off the grease and place the sausage balls on a plate lined with paper towels.

In a large pot, heat:

1 T. olive oil 

over medium high heat.  Add:

1 small onion, diced

and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes.  Stir in:

3-5 cloves of garlic, minced (the recipe called for 3 cloves, but I always add a few more for good measure)

and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in:

2 red bell peppers, diced
3 bay leaves (the recipe called for 1 bay leaf)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you use hot Italian sausage, I suggest you omit the red pepper flakes, unless you are looking for an even spicier soup)

Cook until peppers are soft, about 3 minutes.  Stir in:

8 cups chicken broth or stock (stock will have a more hearty flavor.  I usually will add stock, instead of broth, but use what you have on hand)
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 C. chopped kale
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook until the kale has softened a bit, about 5 minutes.  This is all based on preference, so if you want your kale to still be crisp, do not cook for too long, closer to 1 minute.  Add:

2 C. cheese tortellini, fresh or frozen (I like fresh better, but, again, whatever you have on hand)

Cook until tortellini is tender (typically, follow the time on the box or bag it came in.  Stir in:

1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Stir in the mini sausage balls and heat until warm, although it shouldn't take long.  Just a few minutes.  I left it on low for a while, because we weren't ready to eat yet, but it didn't do anything but combine the beautiful flavors better.  Remove the bay leaf and enjoy!

1 lb. Italian Sausage, rolled into 1/4 tsp size balls
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
8 C. chicken broth or stock
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 C. chopped kale
2 C. cheese tortellini, fresh or frozen
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

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