Tuscan Sausage & Kale Soup

We’re not quite into fall weather yet, but heading into “soup season” I wanted to try out some new recipes.  And with the glut of fresh late-summer vegetables we have, it was a no brainer to come up with this savory, but surprisingly light, Tuscan soup.  For those that aren’t kale-lovers, I bet you’ll have a hard time putting your spoon down!

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TUSCAN SAUSAGE & KALE SOUP

Ingredients

  • 1 Lb. Mild Italian Sausage (no casing)
  • 1 Medium White Onion, Diced
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Tomatoes, Peeled & Diced
  • 1 15-ounce Can White Beans, Drained
  • 4 Cups Fresh Kale, Chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 Tbs. Dried Parsley
  • 2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3-inch Chunk of Parmesan Rind

Instructions

  • In a heavy bottom pot, add 1 Tbs. olive oil and brown sausage until cooked through and crumbly – about 8-10 minutes.  Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add 1 Tbs. olive oil and the diced onion.  Cook 2-3 minutes until translucent and then add garlic.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and any juice to onions and garlic.  Season with 1 Tsp. salt and cook for 5 minutes until tomatoes are soft and begin to break down.
  • Add white wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add chicken stock, water, remaining salt, pepper, parsley, red pepper flakes and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir the kale into the hot liquid and simmer for another 5-7 minutes.  Kale will soften and turn bright green, then darken.
  • Add sausage back into the pot along with the white beans and Parmesan rind.  Reduce head and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  • Serve immediately with a sprinkle of parmesan and/or croutons.

For about an hour of work, you’ll get a rich broth and amazing flavors from this soup.  Homemade stock and fresh tomatoes are best, but using canned for either still works really well.  For a little kick, add double the red pepper flakes or use hot Italian sausage.  The Parmesan rind is optional, but gives a rich nutty flavor to the broth.  Now that we’re wrapping up summer, this recipe will serve you well through the fall months and on cold winter nights too.  Dig in!

Rustic Roasted Mushrooms w/Tomatoes

When I’m cutting back on the carbs for a meal, I like to use hearty vegetables to take the place of the potatoes and pasta I love so much.  So forgoing the baked potato with our ribeye steaks tonight I opted for this Italian-inspired baked mushroom and tomato dish.  A friend of mine, Todd – a fellow food connoisseur, made a similar dish almost 7 or 8 years ago for a dinner party and I haven’t forgotten about it.  I know you’ll love the combination of sweet tomatoes, nutty mushrooms and salty parmesan breadcrumbs.

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RUSTIC ROASTED MUSHROOMS W/TOMATOES

Ingredients

  • 2 Quarts Button Mushrooms
  • 12 Small Campari Tomatoes or 15-18 Large Cherry Tomatoes
  • 6 Tbs. Olive Oil, Divided
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tbs. Italian Herb Seasoning (dry works well here)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Dry Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Wash trim and quarter mushrooms.  Place into a large bowl.
  • Wash and dry tomatoes.  Slice each one in half and squeeze gently to remove the seeds.  Add to mushrooms.
  • Pour 4 Tbs. olive oil over vegetables.  Add minced garlic, italian herbs, salt and pepper.
  • Toss gently to evenly coat vegetables and place into a 2-quart baking dish with high sides.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan and remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle this mixture over mushrooms and tomatoes and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until topping is browns and veggies are bubbling.
  • Remove from oven and serve immediately.

There’s a lot of liquid rendered from this dish so it’s best served with a slotted spoon.  If you want to take advantage of all that liquid, you can also toss in 1 1/2 cups stale bread cubes before baking.  Think of all that Italian-herbed earthiness soaked up in tender bread!  Of course that defeats the purpose of going no-carbs.  Either way, you’ll forget all about the missing potato and savor the flavor of this rustic side dish.  I can’t wait to put a few over-easy eggs on the leftovers tomorrow.  Dig in!