My friend Alison of this homemade life, had us to dinner a few months ago. It is such a treat to be in her home. It was the first time that we had ever met in person, and she was even more lovely than I imagined her to be. It was like we knew each other forever, and our kids got along great. A successful visit. She made us this soup for dinner, it was so good that I went home and made it again the next day. It is such a simple soup, but so healthy tasting, and wholesome. Alison made two pots, one vegetarian version and one for meat eaters. If you are making a vegetarian version, just leave out the sausage and use vegetable broth. I have made both versions myself, and they are both equally delicious. I will sometimes make this early in the day when everyone is at school, and just reheat it when it is time for dinner. The longer it sits, the better it tastes. I always make my pasta on the side and add it as I am serving it, so the leftovers are great.
I also want to wish my mom a very Happy Birthday. She turns 60 today, and God willing, I hope that I look as good as she does when I am her age. I love you Mom! Hope that your birthday is as wonderful as you are.
4-6 links sweet Italian sausage
2 stalks celery
4 cups chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup whole wheat spaghetti (broken into pieces)
Remove the casings from the sausage. In a large Dutch oven, brown the sausage over medium heat until it browns. I do not like big chunks of sausage in my soup, so I break it up with a spoon.
Dice the onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Add to the pot.
Cook for about 10 minutes. The onions will soften and become translucent, and the carrots and potatoes will start to become tender.
Add the chicken stock, canned tomatoes, garlic, basil, and parsley. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, and the potatoes are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
I like to cook my pasta for soup on the side. I do this because we usually have leftovers of soup, and if you add the pasta to the soup, the noodles get soggy and soak up most of the broth. I just add it to the bottom of the bowl, and ladle the soup over top. I keep the leftover noodles in a Ziploc bag and add them to the bowl before I reheat it.
Alison served these Parmesan toasts with her soup, and they were so good, now I do too. Slice some whole wheat baguette and brush a little olive oil on each slice. Add a generous pinch of Parmesan and a grind of fresh pepper. Stick under the broiler until the cheese melts and begins to toast.
Ladle the hot soup over the noodles and sprinkle with some parsley. Serve with Parmesan toast.