Monday, February 1, 2010

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

It is winter in central Illinois which means it is soup season! Is there anything more comforting on a cold winter day than a bowl of steaming soup? I can't think of anything better!

I first had this soup at a church function - where I discover many delectable delights. My friend, Shelly, is an awesome cook and loves to share her culinary skills. Shelly served this as a vegetarian dish without the sausage but the carnivore that I am had to make it with meat.

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup
Adapted from All Recipes

1.5 lbs hot Italian sausage
1 c chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup red wine (I used a dry Marsala)
1 lb. 12 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
4 c beef broth
3-4 carrots, sliced
1 med. zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried marjoram
1/2 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
8 oz. cheese tortellini, frozen
Parmesan cheese, grated

Optional: 2 t cornstarch dissolved in a little cold water for thickening

Place sausage in a dutch oven with a little water over med-high heat for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. When water bubbles away, turn frequently to brown on all sides. Remove to plate to cool.

Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add red wine, scraping all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Let wine reduce to half its volume.

Add the beef stock, tomatoes, carrots and seasonings. Reduce heat and let simmer 30-45 minutes or until carrots are easily pierced with a fork.

While the soup is simmering, slice Italian sausage.

Add the zucchini, sausage and tortellini to the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the tortellini is fully cooked.

If you like your soups a little thicker, dissolve the cornstarch in cold water and stir until thickened.

Pour into individual bowls and garnish with cheese.

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