Thursday, October 21, 2010

Italian Tortellini Soup

1# Hot Italian Sausage
1 c. coarsely chopped onion
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
5-6 cups of beef broth
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. dry red wine (optional - just put in additional beef broth if you aren't using)
2 c. chopped tomatoes (fresh) OR 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes w/ juice
8 oz. tomato sauce (skip if you use canned tomatoes)
1 c. thinly sliced carrots
1 tsp. dry basil leaves
1 tsp. dry oregano leaves
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. crushed red pepper (if you want it spicy)
1 1/2 c. sliced zucchini
2 cups dry cheese tortellini (you can use frozen, but it gets done faster, so you have to adjust)
3-4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 large green pepper cut into 1/2 inch pieces (big chunks)
Grated Parmesan cheese (fresh is best)

Brown sausage in a 5 qt. Dutch oven. Remove and reserve 1 Tbsp. drippings (if there are no drippings, use 1 Tbsp. olive oil). Drain sausage on paper toweling. Saute' onion and garlic in drippings or oil until tender. Add wine to de-glaze the pan. Be sure to scrape up the brown pieces on the bottom of the pan as this adds lots of good flavoring. Add broth, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce (if using), carrots, seasoning and sausage. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

(Note: At this point, you can refrigerate the soup until ready to finish the soup or keep moving ahead!)

Skim fat (if any), Stir in zucchini, parsley, and green pepper and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes. Add the tortellini and simmer for another 20 minutes or until they are tender.

Scoop into bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with hot crusty bread. Very hearty soup!

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