Saturday, November 6, 2010


I admit it. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I watch cooking show while James and the dogs sleep happily next to me. Today I happened to catch Tyler Florence whipping up a soup and sandwich combo -- but it was the soup that caught my attention. A rich, thick, sausage minestrone. Head still on the pillow, I made a quick mental inventory of our fridge and realized we had just about everything near at hand (I had to pop down to the store for the sausage). I just couldn't stop thinking about that soup until I started the pot on the stove.
First I simmered a rosemary sprig, a stalk of thyme and 8 sage leaves in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Next I tossed in a pound of sweet Italian sausage (out of the casings) and continued to cook over medium heat until the sausage was broken up and browned. I chopped two carrots, two stalks of celery and one red onion in the food processor and added them to the pot. The vegetables cooked for about 4 minutes before I added in some tomatoes (about 4 cups) I puréed in the food processor (Tyler called for canned tomatoes but I still have garden fresh so I didn't see any reason not to use them), 1 quart of homemade chicken broth I had in the freezer, about 2 tsp chopped garlic. 1 bay leaf, half a head of chopped cabbage (my addition but it did help clean up the vegetable drawer) and 3 drained cans of cannelini beans and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile I cooked some cut bucatini and when they were still very al dente. I added the drained pasta to the soup to simmer for the last couple minutes of cooking. Now Tyler only used 1/2 lb of pasta but I went ahead and used the whole bag -- so our soup is really more of a wet stew, James didn't really seem to mind, especially when I, as Tyler did, toasted up a few parmesan croutons for the top.

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