Fall is upon us. The rain is back and the temperature is dropping. The chill goes deep into my bones on these cold and rainy days of autumn. Sometimes the only cure to a chilly day is a bowl of warm soup. This tortellini and sausage soup is exactly what you need. It is hearty and delicious, full of flavors and textures, and it comes together so quickly, which makes it an easy weeknight meal.
Let’s chat about these ingredients for a second. This soup is loaded with so much good stuff! It has sausage, kale, tomatoes, tortellini (obviously!), mushrooms, shallots, garlic and so many delicious spices. The complexity of the flavor and the contrasting textures between the sausage and tortellini are what does it for me. Each bite is absolutely perfect!
We start off with browning the sausage, and I have a little trick to share — I actually learned it from Ronny Lvovski of Primal Gourmet, and I’ve never looked back. The trick is to brown the meat as meatballs first, and then smash them down and break it up to have crispy browned meat. The crust that is initially developed on the meatball adds so much flavor and good textures. This will truly elevate any ground-meat dish. No need to make the meatballs pretty or uniform in size; we are just doing this to develop a crust on the meat.
After the meat is nice and browned, I add in the shallots, garlic, mushrooms and spices, and cook everything until fragrant. I utilize this time to bloom the spices. I want them to react to the heat before we add in any of the liquids. This will help the spices to release the flavor and oils that make a dish delicious.
Once you’re past this step, it is smooth sailing and your dish is almost complete. We add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, bring to a boil and add the tortellini. It’s important here that we don’t overcook the tortellini because it will fall apart. In the last minute or two, toss in the kale and heavy cream. Voilà, you have a yummy, comforting soup that will satisfy the whole family. Honestly, you should double the recipe to make sure there are leftovers for the rest of the week. The soup is that good.
Tortellini and sausage soup
Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon thyme, or a bundle of fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 10 ounces tortellini
- 1 cup kale, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Roll Italian sausage into meatballs.
- Add sausage meatballs into Dutch oven and cook until browned on all sides.
- Using a potato masher, or spatula, crush the meatballs until the sausage is broken up.
- Add salt, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and thyme to the pot. Sauté until ground sausage is cooked through, about one minute.
- Add shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until fragrant, about three minutes.
- Sprinkle flour over ingredients in the pot, mix to combine and cook for an additional two minutes, stirring constantly.
- Pour in chicken stock, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook an additional five minutes.
- Add tortellini to the soup and cook five minutes, until just cooked.
- Add kale and heavy cream, cook another minute or two until kale is bright green and slightly softened.