Sausage and Penne Soup is a little time-intensive to make, but you are well rewarded with a flavorful, delicious soup that your family will love
Until a few months ago, I had never made soup. For some reason I had this irrational fear that soup is hard to make. I can’t for the life of me figure out why I thought that, but I get that way with food. I convince myself of something, and it takes a lot for me to change. When I was a kid, my mom made awesome chicken and dumpling soup on dreary winter Sundays. I am not a fan of leftovers, but her soup was always one of the rare exceptions. I didn’t learn to cook until I moved out of the house right after college, and for some reason I never learned to make the soup. She may not even remember the recipe because my parents have been vegetarian since the early 90’s, but there’s only one way to find out.
When I finally took the plunge with making soup, I began with Thai Shrimp Soup. It is creamy, light, spicy, delicious and, most importantly, super easy. Just like that, my irrational fear disappeared. After this success I went on a Pinterest soup rampage, pinning all kinds of recipes. But of course I never got around to making any of them. Finally I found a recipe for Sausage and Penne Soup and knew I had to make it.
Wow, this Sausage and Penne Soup is absolutely outstanding. You want to devour it in record time, but at the same time you want to savor every bite. The most important thing is to let the soup sit for a couple of minutes after it comes out of the broiler. If not, it will be a very painful lesson. Trust me…I learned it the hard way.
Whiskey seems like an odd ingredient, and it is super potent when it hits the heat. However, the alcohol quickly cooks out, and leaves nothing but wonderful flavor. Until recently I always used store-bought broth. But then I learned to make my own vegetable broth, and have never looked back. There is no comparison in terms of color and taste from homemade to store bought.
I never heard of Provel cheese until I came across this recipe, and of course when I needed it for the soup I couldn’t find it anywhere. I live in a small-ish town, so I figured that was the reason. So the first time I made this Sausage and Penne Soup I used extra Swiss cheese instead. A few weeks later I found Provel, and just had to make the soup again. It’s good with just the Swiss, but the Provel takes it to a whole new level. Provel is a fabulous combination of cheddar, Swiss and Provolone. If you’ve never tried it, go out and get some immediately!
The cannelini beans cook for 15 minutes with the penne pasta. I thought they would turn to mush, but they maintain their shape and texture very well. I am obsessed with Johnsonville Spicy Italian sausage, so that is what I use. Plain sausage, or even turkey sausage, would be great substitutes. I grow fresh oregano, basil & parsley throughout the year, so I added some of each in the last couple minutes of cooking. Fresh herbs make such an amazing difference to a dish!
I’ve always used spinach for this Sausage and Penne Soup, as the original recipe calls for. However, when I made it the other day I had no spinach, so I substituted kale. I cut up the kale into very small pieces, because it is much more dense and takes longer to cook. Of course it retained more bite than the baby spinach, but I really enjoyed the contrast in texture.
Adapted from Small Town Woman
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- 2 links spicy Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 3 clove garlic, minced (1 raw and 2 roasted)
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 Tablespoon whiskey
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 2 slices Swiss cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Provel cheese (found in specialty cheese aisle at grocery store)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brown sausage in large saucepan.
Add onion and cook until soft; approximately 3-4 minutes.
Add garlic and cook additional 1 minute.
Add spinach and cook until wilted; approximately 3-4 minutes. You can substitute kale, chopped into fine pieces
Add whiskey and using spoon remove brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add vegetable broth and simmer 15 minutes.
Add beans, basil, parsley and water. Bring to a low boil. Add penne pasta and cook for about 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Turn soup to low, add fresh oregano and basil. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Combine melted butter with flour creating smooth paste Add slowly to the soup and stir. Continue cooking on low until slightly thickened.
Divide soup between 2 ovenproof bowls. Top each with slice Swiss cheese and 1/4 cup Provel. Bake on cookie sheet for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Turn oven to broil and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
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