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
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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 is one of the key ingredients in Sausage and Penne Soup. The first time I saw that I thought it was odd; and whiskey is super potent when it hits the heat. However, the alcohol 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.
PROVEL CHEESE: THE CROWNING GLORY OF SAUSAGE AND PENNE SOUP
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 relatively small town, and I figured that was the reason. The first time I made Sausage and Penne Soup I used extra Swiss cheese. A few weeks later I found Provel at Wal Mart, and just had to make the soup again. Sausage and Penne Soup is good with Swiss, but the Provel takes it to a whole new level. I’ve used both Provel and Swiss, but let’s be honest…I don’t need that much cheese in my soup, so I stick with Provel. Besides, Provel is a 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 the beans 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 turkey sausage are wonderful 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!
The original Sausage and Penne Soup recipe calls for baby spinach. I was out of spinach one time, and substituted kale. I really like the bite that the kale adds to the soup, and now I use it all the time. Besides, you can’t go wrong with two different leafy green vegetables in your soup!
Sausage and Penne Soup is perfect for the winter, or for any rainy and dreary day.
Adapted from Small Town Woman
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 4 links spicy Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves roasted garlic, minced
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 2 cups kale, ribs removed, rinsed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 Tablespoons good-quality whiskey (I use Maker's Mark)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (I use homemade)
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 cup water
- 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup shredded Provel cheese (found in specialty cheese aisle at grocery store)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add sausage and cook until browned. Add onion and cook about 3 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add whiskey, and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove brown bits. These bits are all flavor, and the alcohol will cook out!
- Add kale and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add broth and simmer for 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 heat to low, and add spinach, fresh oregano and basil. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until spinach wilts.
- Combine melted butter with flour creating smooth paste. Add mixture slowly to the soup and stir. Continue cooking on low until slightly thickened.
- Divide soup between 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide cheese evenly on top of each bowl. Bake 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.
- Be very careful, because cheese will be SUPER HOT! Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.