With my (not-so-new-anymore) job and Logan in law school, it’s a weekly battle to put together quick, tasty cheap meals that are at least vaguely healthy. Add to that the need to make sure it’s easy enough to reheat for lunches, and it’s a bit of a challenge. I’m definitely a fan of making a big batch of something, freezing half, and eating it repeatedly for the rest of the week.
Enter: Tuscan Sausage Soup. It’s got everything you want in a soup during the winter: it warms you up from the inside out, with a bit of a kick to keep things interesting. Plus there’s veggies and beans in addition to meat and noodles, so sneaking in some healthy, right? Best of all, this recipe makes enough to feed a small army. In all seriousness I don’t own a pot big enough to make this all in one batch. Instead, get partway through and then freeze half, which means another meal in the freezer for that extra hectic week you’ve got coming up!
I used spicy sausage here and thought the flavor was perfect. But if spicy isn’t your jam, just use sweet Italian sausage and nix the cayenne.
The recipe works with almost any pasta too. This time I used macaroni (mostly because that was already in my pantry), but my favorites are mini shells or rotini! Those mini bow ties are fun too. The recipe I based it on used shells.
Start with ground Italian sausage. I prefer spicy, but you can do sweet if your crowd would rather!
Brown it. While that’s happening, chop up your onion & carrots.
Once the meat is browned, add in onion, garlic and carrots. Saute until just tender. Add the basil (and the cayenne if you so desire!) here.
If you want to freeze half, do it now. I spoon half the mixture into a bowl to let it cool a bit, so let’s just set that aside for the moment.
Add cannellini beans and diced tomatoes.
Already looking tasty and satisfying.
Add the broth and pasta. Bring to a boil, then simmer until pasta is cooked al dente (check the pasta box for this).
While the pasta is cooking, grab a freezer bag. Combine the other can of diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, and the set aside sausage mixture. Now you can freeze it and have a quick dinner later this winter!
Once the pasta is ready, add in the spinach and salt & pepper. Once the spinach has wilted, it’s ready to serve!
This is the type of recipe that you can adjust the broth amount to suit your soup preference. If you want a more stew-like consistency (like my husband), use less liquid and add it in only as you need it.
I love when meals are colorful! The veggies are just cooked enough, so they didn’t lose their gorgeous color.
I prefer this dish with a little kick – spicy food in cold months give that extra boost of warmth!
TUSCAN SAUSAGE SOUP
- 2 lbs spicy Italian sausage
- 6 carrots, peeled & sliced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 quarts chicken broth
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 2 cans cannellini beans, drained
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta
- 8 oz spinach
- Brown sausage on medium high heat. I do this in the biggest pot I own (one less dish to wash!)
- Add in garlic, onion, and carrots. Saute until carrots are tender and onion has turned translucent.
- Add basil and cayenne. Once stirred thoroughly, set aside half of the mixture to freeze.*
- Add 1.5 quarts chicken broth and 1/2 lb pasta. Boil, then bring down to simmer for around 7 minutes – whatever the pasta box suggests for al dente.
- Add the salt and pepper and half the spinach. Wilt the spinach, then serve! This is great with crusty bread or cornbread.
*= add to this one can of cannelini beans and one can of diced tomatoes before freezing. That way, when you pull it out, all you add is broth, pasta, and spinach!
all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose