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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato and Italian Sausage Soup

For day 17 of Soup Month 2013, we made a creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup with Italian Sausage.  This soup gets a nice dose of smoky flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of smoked paprika, and the tomatoes add an incredible aroma to the soup.  The tomatoes are quite inexpensive and can be found in the produce department, and they are a wonderful addition to lots of recipes.

To make this soup more of a one-pot-meal we added some gnocchi pasta, which are cute little half-shell shaped pasta.  This shape helped the pasta hold onto the sauce really well, but any pasta shape, such as penne or farfalle, would work fine.

To make the sauce we started with a Tuscany-style broth, added seasoned diced tomatoes, and a few spices, then finished the sauce with a little half and half and ricotta cheese.  The ricotta adds a nice texture to the soup and, even though we used the low-fat ricotta, it added a nice richness to the soup and helped thicken the broth.

This soup is pretty quick to prepare.  Since the three components of the soup are cooked separately and then combined, this meal was ready to serve in under 30 minutes.  Serve with a green salad and crunchy garlic bread, an maybe a glass of Rioja wine.  Enjoy!!

1 cup  Smoked Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped
3 cups  Progresso Tuscany Broth
6 oz  Dry Pasta, any shape
1 lb  Italian Sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled
1 small  Onion, diced
2 tsp  Minced Garlic
14 oz can  Diced Tomatoes Seasoned with Garlic, Basil and Oregano
1-1/2 tsp  Garlic Powder
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp  Smoked Paprika
3/4 cup  Half and Half  or  Heavy Cream
3/4 cup  Low-Fat Ricotta Cheese
Grated Parmesan-Romano Cheese for Garnish
Chopped Fresh Parsley for Garnish

In a medium soup pot, over medium heat, add the tomatoes and broth and simmer for 10 minutes to soften the tomatoes.

While the tomatoes and broth simmer you can prepare the pasta and sausage for the soup.

In a medium saucepan, cook the pasta in salted water until just al dente.  Drain and set aside.

In a medium skillet, brown the sausage over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic to the sausage and cook until tender.

When the pasta is cooked add it to the soup pot with the broth, then add the sausage mixture to the pot when it has finished cooking.

Add the canned tomatoes and remaining dry spices to the soup, stir and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the soup simmers.  When the soup comes to a simmer, add the half and half and ricotta to the pot, stirring to blend in the ricotta.  Continue to simmer for 10 minutes or until the soup thickens slightly.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan-Romano cheese and fresh chopped parsley.

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