I know what your are thinking – it’s the middle of July and this woman is talking soup! Has she lost her mind? July in California is usually sweltering. Hot, dry and oh so unpleasant unless you are on the water, or only come out of your climate-controlled habitat after sunset. For this very reason, the Event Industry tends to slow to a snail’s pace, which means down time for Hubby and Kiddo. It also means vacation time! This year, we will be returning to one of our our favorite place to explore – the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
This time around, we headed all the way up to Washington to hike Mount Saint Helen’s and check off one of Kiddo’s “To Do” activities. He has always been fascinated by earth sciences. To visit the site of the most significant eruption in the lower 48 since Mount Lassen blew her top back in 1915 was sort of a big deal. From Mount Saint Helen, we headed south west, to the historic hamlet of Seaside. I’m a history buff. For me spending a few days in Seaside where Lewis and Clark’s reached the Pacific Ocean is sort of a big deal. The average high in beautiful Seaside this time of year is a whopping 66; average low 52 and the daily mean is a brisk 59. So yeah, I”m thinking soup. Beautiful beaches, ocean air and soup. Lots and lots of soup.
Spicy Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup
1/2 lb. Spicy Italian Sausage
2 Garlic Cloves
1 cup White Onion
1/2 teaspoon Fennel Seed
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup Marinara Sauce
1 can (15 oz) Italian Seasoned Stewed Tomatoes
32 oz Chicken Stock
1 or 2 Carrots
1 can (15 oz) Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Conchiglie or Chioccile or other small shaped pasta
3 cups Baby Spinach, washed and dried
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, for garnish
Heat a large soup pot or stock pot over medium-high heat. While the pot heats, remove the sausage from its casing. Brown sausage and break up using a wooden spoon. As the sausage browns, peel and mince garlic. Set aside. Peel and dice onion, set aside.
Add fennel seed, garlic and onions to the pot with the browned sausage and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Deglaze the pot with wine and season with salt and pepper; simmer for 2 minutes. Add marinara sauce, stewed tomatoes and stock; bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel carrots and cut into 1/4-inch rounds. Add the carrots to the pot. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until carrots are almost tender.
Drain and rinse the beans. Add beans and pasta to the soup; increase heat to a low boil and cook according to package directions until al dente, about 10 minutes. If soup is too thick, add a splash of chicken stock to thin the soup.
Just before serving, add fresh spinach. Stir until warmed through and spinach is wilted.
If desired, garnish with Parmesan Cheese and serve immediately.