Sunday, October 9, 2011

sensational seasonal soup

Now, doesn't this just look like a big, warming bowl of wonderful?  It's sausage and broccoli soup (what Rachael Ray calls "stoup" as it's somewhere between stew and soup).  My memory of this soup is making it after being completely drenched by the typically chilly Northern Irish rain and my dear friend Andrea and I wolfing it down with big hunks of bread, only stopping eating to murmur "It's soooo good!" every few minutes.  This is not your ordinary out-of-a-can soup.  In fact, it's so special I wanted to make it for my sister and brother-in-law when I was visiting them last week as a little celebration of their 7th wedding anniversary.  So, whether you're feeling chilly (which in Texas, I'm not really) or wanting to celebrate an anniversary or an ordinary Friday, I highly recommend this big pot of love.  This makes a really substantial amount of soup (because I wanted Ash and Clay to have plenty of leftovers).

You'll need some of those divine San Marzano tomatoes.  They do cost about a dollar more than ordinary tomatoes, but as they're a huge part of this soup and have a delightful sweet flavor (instead of the sometimes overly-acidic flavor of other canned tomatoes), it's worth it.  You'll need a 28 ounce can, and don't worry if you can only find whole tomatoes instead of crushed.  They usually only come whole, but are easy to break up with a wooden spoon in the soup.

 Take three cloves of garlic, finely mince them and also finely chop one medium onion.

Brown 3 links of sweet Italian sausage and 3 links of hot Italian sausage (taken out of the casings) in a little bit of olive oil.  You'll want to use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage as it cooks.  As I don't think terms "rare" and "sausage" go very well together, I cooked it well, about 15 minutes on medium-high heat.  About halfway through cooking, add the chopped onions.  In the last 5 minutes or so, add the garlic, too.

Add about 1/8 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg (it adds amazing depth to this soup).

Then add in those sublime San Marzanos and use that handy wooden spoon to break them up.

 Get your broccoli ready.  Rachael's recipe uses broccoli rabe (which you have to blanch first to get rid of bitterness), but when I've made this I just use broccolini.  You may be thinking that's a typo, but that extra syllable's on purpose!  Broccolini is sometimes called baby broccoli or Tenderstem broccoli, and it has delicate little florets and stalks that are tender and yummy, too. Trim the broccolini into bite-sized pieces.

Now, we need to get a bit more liquid in that delicious pot.  Add in one container or chicken stock (about 4 cups).  I use boxed stock because making my own stock just seems like a lot of trouble.  

 Also add in about 2 cups of water.

This fabulous soup has pasta in it too (go ahead, do a little happy dance).  I used this campanelle pasta, because it's just so gosh-darn cute.

 Adorable, right?

Once that sumptuous soup is simmering...

 ...add in the broccolini...

 ...and the pasta.  Also add in one can of cannellini or great northern beans.  They add a Tuscan creaminess to the soup.  Let it cook until both the broccolini and pasta are al dente (about 6 minutes or so).

While that was cooking, I made some garlic bread Ina Garten style.  Ciabatta bread is best for this.

Finely chop together three cloves of garlic and 1/4 cup of parsley.  You could use a  food processor but I used an antiquated contraption called a knife. Season it with a little salt and pepper.  Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a small saute pan and add this mixture, then turn off the heat.  Cut the bread in half and spread one side with 2 tablespoons of butter and brush the other side with the garlic herb oil.  Wrap in foil and bake at 350ºF/176ºC for ten minutes, opening the top of the foil halfway through.  Yum, herby, garlicky.  YUM.

Once the pasta and broccolini are done, add a bit of parmesan cheese (1/4 cup or so).

 Your heart just skipped a beat, didn't it?  So decadent and hearty.

Top each bowl with a little more parmesan, grab some of that herby crusty bread and enjoy this earthy, hearty bowl of joy.

Bon appetit!

1 comment:

  1. Looks so good. Shame there isn't Smell-O-Vision by Blog!

    You're going to like the Cameron family so well!