Dinner with Ana-Sausage and Kale Soup

 IMG_1893Everything you see I owe to pasta. – Sophia Loren

Shall we just say the wind has kicked up and the rain comes and goes, the prediction for the weekend is more of the same stuff  tropical storm to be named Ana aiming directly for the Carolinas.  My little memorial a Northwind Maine buoy wind chime for Marshal Dillon is clanging away in his favorite tree and I would imagine that later on the others in back will join the wind party.  Beautiful chimes, each one tuned to a buoy in a different channel, we have several of our favorite harbors that we had the pleasure of visiting over the years…Northcountry windbells.com

Soup is in the works for tonight and a braised dish for Saturday, stay in kind of food no grilling unless it is on the range top grill.  I managed to grab a few fresh herbs between rain showers, shuffled through the freezer for chicken, beef, and vegetable broths and finally through the pantry for any kind of beans.  Now with all the goods assembled for a pot of  Tuscan-style sausage soup the only choice was to pick a pasta.  I have made this in the winter and added barley instead of pasta and feel free to add other vegetables and greens of your choice.

*optional addition, 1/4 cup diced pancetta, sauté in the EVOO before adding the vegetables

5-6 cups chicken and vegetable stocks
2 can drained and rinsed cannellini beans
1 cup red wine
1 leek trimmed, rinsed, sliced in half lengthwise, thinly sliced into 1/2 rings
1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel
2-3 fat cloves of garlic
1 rib of celery, peeled, halved and slice
1 large shallot or sweet onion about 1/2 cup
1 big carrot, peeled, halved and sliced
1-28 ounce can San Marzano diced or whole tomatoes (hand squish if whole)
1-3/4 cup orzo pasta
1 tablespoon tomato paste
pinches of red pepper flakes
1 small bunch of kale or Swiss chard, rough chopped
A small hand full of fresh herbs, Greek oregano, parsley, English thyme, rosemary leaves, baby leaves of sage, and marjoram the choices for tonight
Pepper and salt to taste
EVOO to sauté the vegetables in and a little for a drizzle over when served

Serve with fat crusty bread croutons grated Romano and parmesan cheeses

If using 1/4 cup pancetta, sauté first in EVOO until crispy.  Add the chopped carrots, celery, shallot or onion, garlic, leek and fennel and sauté over medium heat in a large soup pot for 2-3 minutes.  Deglaze with the red wine and allow the alcohol to burn off for a minute or so and add the tomatoes, and broth.  Cook for about 5 minutes, add the beans and cook for another 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and cover until you are ready to add the pasta and kale or chard.  Bring back to a medium simmer add the chopped kale or chard and cook the pasta according to the package cooking time.  Serve piping hot with extra cheese and croutons.The soup can be made ahead of time, just add the pasta for the last 9 minutes or so of cooking time before serving.