For day 29 of Soup Month 2013, we tried a new Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage with Basil from Al Fresco, and it was a great addition to this soup. This sausage is pretty tasty, and has just the right balance of tomato and basil flavor. When combined with onions, green pepper, tomatoes and some whole wheat pasta, you've got a healthy meal ready to serve in about 30 minutes. The sausage is also a much healthier choice than standard sausage. With just 140 calories and 7 grams of fat per link, each link provides 15 grams of protein.
Cooking the pasta in the broth and tomatoes allows all of those flavors to absorb into the pasta, and blends the spices throughout the soup. This is also a great way to introduce your kids to whole wheat pasta. With all of those flavors working together, the pasta will taste great!
The last step of this soup is to blend in the ricotta cheese, which gives the soup a silky, cheesy texture, and thickens the soup at the same time. I really like the way the ricotta turns this soup into almost a stew-like consistency, but, if you like your soup a bit thinner, you can skip the ricotta or add 1/3 cup more chicken broth. Even without the ricotta, the soup is excellent. Enjoy!!
1 small Onion, chopped
1 small Green Pepper, diced
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 TB Minced Garlic
2 Basil Cubes (or 1 TB Fresh Minced Basil)
1 12 oz pkg Alfresco Chicken Sausage with Sundried Tomatoes and Basil, casing removed and sausage sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
14 oz can Diced Tomatoes with Italian Seasonings
3 cups Chicken Broth or Italian Flavored Broth
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
8 oz Dry Pasta (regular or whole wheat, any shape will work)
6 oz Low-Fat Ricotta Cheese
In a medium soup pot, sauté the onion and green pepper in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and basil cubes (or basil) and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the sausage to the pan, stirring so the sausage browns slightly on the edges.
Next, add the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper to the pot and heat to boiling. When the broth boils, add the pasta, return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is just tender.
When the pasta is cooked, stir the ricotta cheese into the broth, stirring to blend the cheese into the soup. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve. Makes about 6 servings.