I get so busy that I start writing posts but am not able to post them till days later! So, here's one I started last week:
I truly do live in a beautiful place. This morning, as I was driving home from breakfast, I couldn't help but think about how lucky I am. There I was cruising down PCH, eyes on the road but also looking at the swells and crashes of the waves, the morning fog burning off, the sun starting to shine through, the fragrant salty sea air filling my car. . . I am a lucky duck :-)
It was nice to be able to go out to breakfast. Fridays are my no-school day for the week but the past two have actually been at school where I'd attend Open Lab for Anatomy and Physiology. It gave me time to study the models over and over again so that I'd be able to nail my lab practicum. Well, this past Monday night I took the last A&P practicum and I think I did alright. I mean, I felt it was fairly easy but I definitely did study a lot. So, crossing my fingers!
There is one week of school left! Heck, it's less than a week; I'll be done by 2pm on Thursday, May 24th. After a long 16-week semester, one does put it down to the time as to when their semester is over. This past school week was absolutely bananas with the practicum and many presentations to give and a report to turn in. This weekend's studying will be a total breeze compared to what I have been going through. There were very few moments of sanity and normalcy this past week.
However, I did make a beautiful soup that I must share. It's so scrumptious and healthy for you! The Sweet Italian Sausage goes so well with the other components of the soup. You get a lovely creaminess from the red and white kidney beans, wonderful herb flavor from the basil, slight anise flavor from the fennel seeds in the sausage as well as chopped fennel, a kick from the red chili pepper flakes, a deep flavor of kale, and a slight acidity from the diced tomatoes. The freshly grated cheese on top brings the soup to another level. I added elbow macaroni to it but potatoes can be used instead.
The thing about my elbow macaroni? I cooked it separately. I've always been a devout fan of cooking your starch in a flavorful liquid. However, whenever I add pasta to soup, it's great when I'm ready to serve--the texture is perfect, it has great flavor... awesome. And then the next day? Poof! The pasta has swelled up to four times its normal size and there's barely any liquid left. So, this time, I stayed strong and cooked my pasta in regular salted water and you know what? I was so happy that I didn't have swollen noodles the next day :-)
It's super simple to make; I started it at 8pm and was done within 35 minutes. It's a total breeze to whip up and I would put it in the category of "Comfort Food." Delicious and nutritious, what are you waiting for?
Kale and Sausage Bean Soup
- 1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped up into medium pieces
- 1 fennel bulb, diced (save the fennel fronds)
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 can red kidney beans
- 1 can white kidney beans (Cannellini beans)
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
- large handful of freshly chopped basil
- 3 links Sweet Italian Sausage
- red chili pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni or small shells
- Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
- Optional: 4 red potatoes, diced, instead of the pasta
1. Drizzle a little olive oil in a large pot and place on medium heat. Remove the sausage from the casing and add to the pot. Break up the sausage into small pieces and cook through. When fully cooked, remove from pan.
2. Add a little more olive oil to the pan. Add the diced fennel and onion along with a little salt, pepper, and some red chili pepper flakes. Sauté on medium-high until translucent and almost caramelized. *If using potatoes, this is when you would add them--with the onions and fennel.*
3. Add your garlic and sauté for a few minutes. Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, chopped parsley, and half of your chopped basil.
4. Stir everything together and bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer.
5. In a separate pot, get your pasta water ready: water and a large amount of salt brought to a boil. When it is boiling, add the pasta. At this same time, add your cooked sausage pieces, kale, and bean and let them all get to temperature.
6. Taste the soup for any seasoning adjustments. Add the rest of your chopped basil for a hit of freshness.
7. Cook the pasta to al dente, drain, and place in a bowl.
8. Add some pasta to a bowl. Then, ladle the soup into it. Grate Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano over the top. Garnish with fennel fronds.
|Break the sausage up.|
|What have I always said? "Brown food is good."|
|The amount of red chili pepper flakes you add is up to you.|
|Add your chicken broth, chopped herbs, and tomatoes.|
|Time for the kale...|
|and the beans.|
|Toss in the rest of your chopped basil. This will "brighten" up your soup... which tastes like it has been cooking for a long time :-)|
|You cannot deny that this looks so good.|
|Having cooked these separately, it was a wonderful feeling to know that I wasn't going to have swollen pasta the next day!|
|I love all the different colors, textures, and flavors in this soup!|
|I think the freshly grated cheese adds a smidge of luxury to this soup. Buon appetito!|