Sunday, July 24, 2011

Soup in the Summer? Yes!

I love filling my house with the warm aromas of simmering soups on crisp Fall afternoons & chilly Winter evenings. Soup just seems to warm your body and soul. Recently, my husband underwent a dental procedure and could only have semi-soft food. I immediately thought of ten different soups I loved & could make for him; but wait a second, I thought, it's July & 92 degrees outside. How could I possibly make soup?? Well, I had no choice, the man had to eat, so I put aside my prejudice against soup in the Summer & pressed on. For selfish reasons, I chose Sausage, Tomato & Orzo Soup, which is one of my hands-down favorites. One of the bonuses of this recipe is that it calls for two tomatoes...back to the farm stand I go!  I have been preparing this mouth-watering soup for years, but have never made it in the Summer.  With hindsight being 20/20, I now see the genius in Summer preparation of this dish.  The tomatoes play a major role, so fresh farmstand tomatoes take this recipe to an epic level.  I must admit that I no longer feel that I can't make soup in the Summer, it was fabulous! I can't wait for our next Summer soup night; but let's leave the dentist out of it!

Sausage, Tomato & Orzo Soup

For the Parmesan croutons:
3 C baguette, cubed
1/2 C Parmesan, grated

For the soup:
1lb. Link Italian sausage, sliced into 1" pieces
2C onions, diced
1 T garlic, minced
2 tsp. Dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. Red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)
1/2 C dry white wine
4 C (32oz.) chicken broth
2 C tomatoes, seeded & diced
1/2 C dry orzo pasta
3 C fresh spinach, chopped
Parmesan croutons

The Parmesan croutons take this soup over the top. They only take a few minutes to make, so don't skip this step!

Toast baguette cubes in 2T olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove pan from heat, toss with Parmesan;set aside.

Saute sausage in 2T olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until browned. Add the onion, garlic, and seasonings; cook 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is soft.

Deglaze with wine & reduce until almost evaporated. Add broth, tomatoes & orzo; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.

Stir in spinach until wilted. Serve soup with croutons on top.


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