Sausage Vegetable Soup for Cold Winter Evenings.

It's January!  And one of my two favorite times of the year to eat lots and lots of soup! (The other being October!)

Here in the Pacific Northwest it is always dark, always cold and usually rainy in January!  Definitely soup weather!  And from what I am hearing on the news about the weather systems blowing a blanket of deep snow over most of the northern hemisphere - many of you are in need of a big bowl of hot, nourishing soup about now!

So here is the recipe for one of my family's very favorites!  The recipe makes a huge pot of soup - enough for one big family or enough to freeze several dinners for busy days when all you want for dinner is a big bowl of home made soup.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were cozy little restaurants where one could get nothing but homemade soup, hot homemade bread, and home made pie for dessert?  At about 7:30 or 8:30 at night when we are tired and there is nothing in the world we would rather do than settle in with a hot bowl of soup - wouldn't it be nice?

But... I digress!  The recipe!

Sausage Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

2 pounds mild Italian Sausage
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian sausage seasoning (Penzeys)
3 Carrots cut into bite size pieces
1 onion cut into bite size pieces
4 cloves minced
3 quarts chicken stock (home made or purchased - I use Pacific brand)
1 Tablespoon Penzeys Chicken Base (optional)
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice (I use S&W ready cut)
3/4 Tablespoon dried basil (Penzeys)
3/4 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning (Penzeys)
1 teaspoon dried, crushed red chile (I get mine from Chimayo To Go)
1 Cup Ziti
1 handfull ( about 20 - 30) green beans cut into about 1/2" pieces.
1/2 bunch of chard or spinach  (if using chard, remove the large end of the ribs)
1 large zucchini cut into bite size pieces

Note: Salt is not usually needed as there is enough salt in the seasonings and the sausage.  But taste and add some if you like.

Making the Soup!  It takes about 1 hour!

Break up half of the sausage into a skillet.  Sprinkle with half of the Italian sausage seasoning. Cook on medium heat until brown.  Repeat with rest of sausage and seasoning.

Be sure to break it up as it browns so that it is in bite size pieces.  Transfer to large stock pot with a slotted spoon.  (If you prefer, drain the cooked sausage on paper towels before adding to stock pot).

Drain all but a Tablespoon or two of the fat from the skillet and add the carrots and onion. 

Saute the onion and carrot until wilted and just begins to brown on edges.  Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds. 

Add sautéed vegetables to the stock pot along with the chicken broth, soup base (if using) tomatoes and seasonings. Toss in the green beans.

Bring to boil, reduce temperature and simmer for 40 minutes.

While the soup mixture is simmering, cook the ziti in boiling, salted water for about 8 minutes. It has been my experience that ziti loves to settle to the bottom of the pot and stick!  So - I recommend stirring every couple minutes to prevent this from happening.

A little trick I just love that Diane taught me years ago!  Pour a little olive oil into the pasta water before adding pasta.  It keeps the pasta water from foaming up and boiling over!

(I had to shoot this while pouring with one hand and taking the shot with the other so - maybe a little more oil in the pot than necessary!)

When the pasta is done, drain and rinse.  Hold pasta until the soup has finished simmering.  Add pasta to the soup along with the chard and zucchini.

Return to boil, and boil gently for 5 minutes.

Ready to eat!!

Enjoy and remember to freeze what's left in double or single serving sizes. 

Notes:  1) If you wish, you can actually add the ziti directly to the soup after it has simmered about 30 minutes.  Bring the soup back to boil and boil gently about 8 to 10 minutes (stirring every couple minutes) before adding the chard and zucchini.  The ziti soaks up a lot of the broth making a very thick soup.  I like my soup brothy so I prefer to partially cook the ziti separately.
            
              2)  Add any vegetables you like to this soup!  If you have leftovers - toss them in just before serving!   Fresh veggies should be added depending on their cooking time - for instance corn in the last 5 minutes, sweet potatoes or white potatoes about 15 minutes before the soup is done.  We even added some left over broccoli once and it was great!

I hope you will enjoy this soup as much as my family and friends do!

 

Making this soup for the

Making this soup for the second time! Thanks for the recipe Pam.

Yum Yum Had set this aside to

Yum Yum Had set this aside to try. Needless to say we all loved it. I like my soup thick so I cooked the pasta in the broth.Deelish thanks Pam.

I love soup too Pam,

I love soup too Pam, unfortunately my family doesn't feel the same :( But too bad they had a huge pot of Tuscan bean soup for dinner tonight.
We don't get Italian sausage over here and I sure do miss it! Your soup looks very hearty and yummy indeed :)

Yummy soup. I make a sausage

Yummy soup. I make a sausage casserole in the crock pot with similar ingredients and it is so-o-o-o good on a cold day. I'll be trying your soup too. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Oh my that looks so yummy!!

Oh my that looks so yummy!!

Yum. This recipe is calling

Yum. This recipe is calling my name. I like that you use zucchini and spinach - not common ingredients for soup and so good for you. This does look really yummy to eat with some homemade bread.

Thanks for sharing this

Thanks for sharing this recipe! It is definitely soup weather here in central Indiana, and my guys are big fans of sausage. I'm a big fan of Penzeys as well, and we're lucky to have a shop on the northside of Indy. Have you seen the cookbook they put out about the making of Penzeys One? Heaven!

I love shopping at Penzeys. 

I love shopping at Penzeys.  We have a Penzeys Spice store here in the Portland area now and Diane and I have spent blissful hours going from jar to jar "sampling" the aroma of every single herb and spice Penzeys sells!  They have all their spices beautifully displayed and provide a large jar of each herb, spice or blend so customers can smell the aroma of each product. 

Anyone lucky enough to live within driving distance of a Penzeys store should definitely visit!!  But it is also a treat to get a box of spices in the mail!  Same routine - opening every jar and savoring the fragrance!

Sounds delicious and similiar

Sounds delicious and similiar to the 'hamburger soup' we like to make. And, I see you get your spices at Penzeys. We do too but more because it is in Milwaukee so when we go to town we can stock up for home and for Arizona.

I love soup also.

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