A Hearty Italian Sausage Soup
Use your garden remains to cook up a delicious dish
Is that a chill in the air? As summer winds down, take to the kitchen with the remnants of the garden and cook up a hearty soup. Those beautiful shell beans seen at farmers markets offer a short window to use fresh beans instead of canned or dried. And why not throw those bedraggled tomatoes in too? And, of course, kale never seems to go anyway, but here, it has a starring role.
Italian Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup
Serves six or more
1¼ ground or sliced sweet Italian sausage meat (Angela’s makes its own.)
4 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, medium dice
2 carrots, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
1 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes (Calabrian is Chef Simmons’ favorite brand.)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
5 bay leaves
8 cups water or vegetable broth
2 12-ounce cans cannelloni beans or 2 cups of fresh shell beans
3 tablespoons vegetable base (Minor’s brand does not have as much sodium.)
3 large fresh, chopped tomatoes and their juice or 1 container Pomì brand tomatoes
3 bunches kale, coarsely chopped
1 cup thinly chopped fresh basil
6 tablespoons pecorino romano
Add oil, sausage, onions, carrots and garlic to pot, then add oregano, basil, crushed red peppers and bay leaves. Brown the meat on medium-high heat. After thoroughly browned, add water, vegetable base, two cans of drained beans (or fresh beans) and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in fresh kale and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Stir in fresh basil and pecorino cheese. Top each serving with a sprig of fresh herbs and additional grated cheese, if desired. It can be made ahead, and Chef Simmons says it is even better the next day.
Beautiful cranberry (borlotti) beans, available now at farmers markets, are a great seasonal alternative to dried beans — they take less time to cook. They should be used within a few days of purchase before they dry up. They taste great on their own, in a soup or puréed. Unfortunately, they do lose their beautiful coloring when cooked, but still taste buttery smooth in your soup.
Angela’s Pasta & Cheese Shop is now owned by Steven Freeman of Manchester. Freeman loves to cook, and he has been involved in the business in a variety of ways, including restaurant design and supporting local food sourcing. During the transition, most of the staff stayed on, including head chef Mike Simmons. Chef Simmons creates a take-out menu each week with daily dinner specials ranging from veal Parmigiana to rack of lamb to their legendary black-and-blue meatloaf. He also creates a hot lunch special every day, along with sandwiches and a soup of the day. Simmons says Freeman is encouraging him to use local produce whenever possible, adding, “He’s right, it does make a difference.” Fresh-baked breads and cookies, cakes and whoopee pies round out the meals. Angela’s is also well known for its extensive cheese selections, fresh pastas, wine selection, specialty food items and gift baskets. Catering for events and celebrations is also offered. Yes, Mr. Freeman, you have landed in a foodie paradise.
Angela’s Pasta & Cheese Shop
815 Chestnut St., Manchester, NH
Open: weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.