I was getting sad about the end of summer, but then I remembered soup. THIS soup, specifically. I’m a fan of tomato soup to begin with; I love the creaminess and richness of the tomatoes. But then add in spicy Italian sausage, cheesy tortellini, fresh spinach and basil, and you have everything you need. Plus this soup scores bonus points – it’s all cooked in one pot and easy to prepare. If you’re feeling especially indulgent, heat up some stovetop Parmesan crostini for dipping.
Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. I like to use enameled cast iron when making soup. Saute the onions in some olive oil until they become translucent, about 3 minutes.
Crumble in a pound of Italian chicken sausage and break up any large clumps. Italian Chicken Sausage combines the fennel, garlic and herbs of traditional Italian sausage with the added taste of red peppers and low fat, skinless chicken. It’s a win-win for me; I prefer the taste and it cuts the fat content in half. Go ahead and use pork Italian sausage if that’s your preference. Stir until the meat is no longer pink. Toss in the minced garlic and stir. Some of my favorite recipes start with this combination.
Slowly pour in your favorite crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth and stir. Make sure to scrape up any brown bits sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Add in your freshly chopped basil, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Adjust these seasonings to your likeness. Add another 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes if you like tomato soup on the spicy side. Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 1 hour. The longer you let simmer, the deeper the flavor.
Add in the tortellini and spinach the last ten minutes of cooking time, or until the pasta is tender. Be sure not to overcook the tortellini.
I like making Parmesan crostini to dip with this soup. Slice a baguette and butter one side. Heat on a hot skillet until golden brown, flip, and top with freshly grated Parmesan. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil if cheese has not completely melted. Top the soup with a hot crostini and let it soak up all that tomato goodness.
This recipe makes a good amount of soup, probably enough for 8. I like to transfer it to an airtight container and freeze. It keeps in the freezer for 2-3 months. Recipe adapted from Yellow Bliss Road.