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Friday, February 14, 2014

Easy Weeknight Soup

I have to transition away from vacation-style food eventually (although I do have another inspired recipe up my sleeve for later this week).  I'm still trying to lighten things up a bit since some of that weight I lost last year is creeping back on and I need to back off the heavy meals and the sweet snacks.  With winter being so brutal this year, what could be more satisfying than a bowl of soup?

For this soup I headed out of the western hemisphere and went back to my Italian roots.  I was inspired to make this after I had a bunch of leftover basil in my fridge that I wanted to use up before it went bad.  I thought about how nice a bowl of tomato-basil soup would be - something inspired by an Italian grandmother's signature pasta dish.  I know tomato soup isn't the most original dish in the world and I almost decided it wasn't TERP-worthy, but in the end decided it was too tasty not to share.

In order to beef up the vegetable content (now that's a weird pun) I added some fresh spinach leaves.  Then I had even more inspiration.  I needed some protein, right?  How about some turkey sausage?  Then top the whole thing with a bit of fresh mozzarella for creaminess.

Red, white, and green.  It's the Italian flag!



I had wanted to make this with fresh sausage.  My intent was to remove it from the casing and cook it with the onions.  Sadly, I was doing my shopping on my lunch hour.  Unless you're spending big bucks at places like Whole Foods or Zabar's, you will not find the kind of variety of foods in your typical small NYC market that you will find in the suburbs.  I had to use pre-cooked sausage and just sliced it in at the end.

Italian Flag Soup

Ingredients
  • 2 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 good handful fresh basil leaves
  • 10 oz baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 links pre-cooked Italian turkey sausage, sliced
  • Fresh mozzarella for garnish (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Add onions and cook until very soft.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, wine, and basil and cook another 30 minutes, allowing flavors to blend.

Using a stick blender (or in batches in a regular blender, carefully puree the soup.  Stir in spinach, and sausage.  Add salt to taste.

Serve topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella.

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