Spring is hit or miss for weather in Chicago and lasts well into June. We can have 80 degree days where we love/hate it because we’re so used to the cold but, Oh My God, Summer! Then there are those 45-55 degree days that have you wearing fuzzy socks and cozy sweaters. Those are way more common than the 80 degree days. You think we’d get a nice middle ground of 65 degrees but no. It’s generally cold and rainy and damp (that’s what really gets you). For those cooler days, you want comforting meals but nothing too heavy. We’re past the thick stews that warm your bones kind of comfort. Instead, meals like this Springtime Minestrone with Sausage are perfect. It’s warm and comforting but contains lots of spring veggies that bring a little brightness.
Most stores sell bulk Italian sausage alongside the links. If, however, you have sausage links in your freezer or can’t find the bulk just remove the casings and break it up. There aren’t any veggies that I would say to avoid for this soup, it’s kind of an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink deal but I’d stay away from asparagus and snap peas. I love them both but I don’t think they’d work well. However, use all the spring/summer squash you’d like, root veggies, beans, leafy greens etc. This is packed with good stuff. I like to use Kale because it holds a bit firm even after wilting. Spinach and other leafy greens can get mushy.
Confession time. I had no idea how large of a recipe this would turn out when I wrote it. You can feed an army with these measurements. I almost filled the entire pot! I fed my family of four, twice and was able to send a container full to my grandparents that fed them twice as well. So if you’re looking for a smaller yield, I strongly suggest you halve the recipe.
Spring Minestrone with Sausage
1 lb. Italian Sausage, casings removed
6 large Carrots, sliced
2 small Zucchini, diced large
4 Celery Stalks, diced large
1 large Onion, diced
4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
6 oz. Tomato Paste
28 oz. Diced Tomatoes
15 oz. Cannelini Beans
1 tsp. Rosemary
1 tsp. Thyme
1 Basil Bunch
1 tbsp. Oregano
2 tbsp. Parsley
6-8 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
3 cups Pasta
3 cups Kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped
1/2 grated Parmesan
1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the Italian sausage, breaking it up as you cook. If the meat sticks to the bottom or begins to leave brown bits, add a few tablespoons of chicken stock to loosen it up.
2. After sausage has cooked all the way through, add in the carrots, zucchini, celery, onion and garlic. Let the vegetables cook for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the tomato paste, mixing it well with the veggies for about 2 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano and parsley. Let cook 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
3. Add 6 cups of chicken broth. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 30 minutes on low heat.
4. Add in the cannelini beans and pasta. If the soup becomes too thick, add up to two extra cups of broth. Let simmer until noodles are cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in kale and allow it to wilt, about 5 minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
In case you’re wondering who’s sharing this Delicious Springtime Minestrone with Sausage recipe from Chicago, it’s Christine from Lattes, Life & Luggage. Hi there! What does spring weather look like where you’re from?