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Sausage Soup

January 17, 2013

Is there anything better then coming in from the cold to a warm pot of soup and crusty bread?


And this soup is so easy, but SO good that I wanted to make sure you all had it at your finger tips to whip up for a quick dinner.  Especially if you have had fun doing out door activities (shoveling counts)!  I got this recipe from my fantastic neighbor who is always up for spending time outdoors.  We have been lucky enough to fit in some winter walks, and she invited me over to have lunch first. This is what she served, and it was so yummy I planned it for dinner a few nights later. It reminds me of what I love about food: making great food memories.

I also have to give you a good laugh, since a few days ago we also got on some cross country skis and explored the woods and fields behind my house:


It felt SO good to put some skis on even if I wasn’t going downhill.  The baby belly looks so funny in this picture!  My friend looks much more in the zone:


Since this soup starts with Italian Sausage the amazing flavor perfumes the whole pot:


And the flavor gets better when you have it for leftovers, though adding one of the chicken flavor packets (or chicken bouillon) and some more water helps reconstitute it.

Let me know how it turns out (and what you have been doing outdoors this winter)!

Sausage Soup (to print out recipe, click here)


  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 cups bow tie pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage (I left this out as I didn’t have any)
  1. In a soup pot, cook sausage over medium heat until no pink remains.
  2. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes, or until onions are soft.
  3. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, cabbage, and basil. Bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni, and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Season with garlic salt. Serve.


Pappa Al Pomodoro

July 29, 2012

Hi there! Welcome to summer in a bowl:

I made this soup last summer when my basil was growing like crazy.  It takes 1 cup + 20-30 leaves for the topping. And it’s flavors have haunted me. Whenever I have a leftover loaf of bread, I scramble to get the other ingredients together.  Those Italians know what to do with leftover bread!

In this soup, like in all cooking, quality counts! I use San Marzano tomatoes and the best organic stock I can buy if I don’t have any homemade.

You start with these aromatic flavor bases…


Add cubes of bread…

Then tomatoes, dry red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon) and basil, salt and pepper….

Then simmer on the stove.  While that is cooking, you make the BEST part. This topping:


Toasted bread crumbs with panchetta. It is heaven.  You are supposed to add 20-30 basil leaves but I didn’t want to use up my whole supply. I added a few though and wished I had more.

When it is done, use an immersion blender to create the texture you want.  If it is too think, add some water.

This soup is so good, I can’t stop eating it.  The toppings make it salty-chewy-crunchy, and the flavors in the soup make you feel like you are drinking a sun-ripened field of tomatoes and basil in Tuscany.   Buon appetito!


Pappa Al Pomodoro

from Ina Garten Back to Basics cookbook


  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
  • 1 cup medium-diced carrots, unpeeled (3 carrots)
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and medium-diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes, crusts removed
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans good Italian plum tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

For the topping:

  • 3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes
  • 2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 24 to 30 whole fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Salt and pepper