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Sweet Italian Sausage Soup

This is among the very first recipes to find it's way into the cookbook.  I've adjusted things a bit along the way but not by a lot.  The following intro stands as it was originally written.  The kids of whom I refer were still high schoolers at the time.  They are now in their thirties.

This recipe popped up one day in our on-line cooking conference at work and I immediately determined that this would be a hit.  Boy, was I right.  Everybody loved it. The kids said that they didn’t even mind the (well disguised) mushrooms because the rest was so good.  Huge endorsement there.  After some minor changes to accommodate family eccentricities this is what I wound up with.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, thinly sliced
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced 
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
 Cooked elbow macaroni.  

Cook the macaroni according to package instructions.  Should be cooked al dente.

In a pot large enough for all ingredients brown the sausage in the olive oil.  Drain sausage and set aside leaving about 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil and sausage drippings in the pot..

Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms begin to wilt.

Add all remaining ingredients except the macaroni. Simmer, partially covered, until the carrots are soft, about 45 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings along the way.

At serving time, put macaroni (amount varying according to taste) in a soup bowl and ladle the soup over it.  This way the macaroni is prevented from getting too soggy by standing in the broth in the pot.


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