Monday, June 16, 2014

"Pasta" Figioli

I should preface this recipe with: I could eat soup in the middle of the desert without water.  That is how much I love soup.  I could eat soup 3x times a day for a week and still want more--and I have.  I love all kinds of soup,  except cold soups--which, in my opinion, are really just cold drinks in a bowl.  If you don't feel the same way about soup that I do and could never imagine eating soup in the summer---bookmark this for October 1st.

This soup is "Pasta" Figioli,  because it doesn't use pasta.  My soup has Quinoa as a nice substitution for Pasta.  Why?  Because I made 8 servings and for me,  it would be nuts to eat pasta 8 times in one week.  Pasta has a very low nutritional value--and although good every once and awhile,  not good 8 times a week.  You could easily use the traditional Ditalitini in this soup instead of quinoa,  and follow the rest of the recipe. 

Pasta Figioli
Prep: 20 minutes
Cooks: 2-3 hours
Serves: 8

1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil (whichever is your preference)
1 pound sweet ground Italian Sausage
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 white onion, diced
3 carrots,  peeled and diced
1 bag fresh spinach 
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 14 ounce cans of pureed tomato (Muir Glen makes a good organic canned tomato)
1 32 ounce can of Chicken Broth (preferably homemade)
2 cans Cannelloni beans,  drained and rinsed 
1 handful of fresh parsley
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper
Parmesean Cheese,  for serving
4 bay leaves
1 cup of quinoa

1.  Cook quinoa according to package directions.
2.  While quinoa is cooking heat 1 tsp of olive oil or coconut oil over medium high heat in a deep pot (like a sauce or soup pot).
3. Once the pot is heated through place 1 lb of ground sausage in pot to brown.  Allow to cook through, about 6 minutes.
4.  While your sausage is browning dice up all of your vegetables.  Mix in with your cooked sausage.
5. Allow vegetable to cook about 5 minutes, adding water as needed to keep the mixture from sticking.
6.  Season well with salt and pepper.
7.  Once beans are rinsed and drained put them in with the cooking mixture.
8.  Season with italian seasoning and diced parsley--I like to use at least one fresh spice in my recipes--but dried parsley would work just as well (1-2 tbsp).
9.  Mix all ingredients well in pot,  then pour in both cans of tomatoes and the chicken stock.
10.  Put all bay leaves in,  making sure you know how many you put in so you remove them before serving---they are not edible.
11.  Place lid cracked on top,  reduce heat to simmer, and cook 2-3 hours.
12.  To serve first remove bay leaves, then  place 1/2 cup of quinoa (or pasta if your a rebel) in the bottom of a bowl,  top with 1-2 cups of soup,  sprinkle with Parmesan cheese,  and more parsley if desired.