Sorry no post yesterday- literally no time between waking and sleeping to get to it! Between work, running and EATING TONS OF BREAD AND CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE (girls night!) I got home around 10 and just needed a shower and sleeps.
Sleep evaded me though, because the novel that I am currently reading, The Goldfinch, finally really hooked me. I had intended to read for a few minutes, allow the words to begin traveling around the page, and drift off. I had been stuck for weeks not further than the first few pages, trying to get drawn in- and then it happened. I don’t want to give away too much- but a traumatic event occurs- and let’s just say I can relate on some level. Donna Tartt’s prose moves – and without a better way of putting it, the rhythm that she writes in just jives well in my brain. I get her, and I get her writing. It’s something I need when I start a novel and something that when its missing makes it supremely difficult to soldier on.
After another long day, I was really looking forward to dinner. Like, from lunchtime on. All I could think about was savory sausage, rich stock, kale, and a snowdrift of pecorino romano. Seriously.
Lucky for me, since I usually don’t get home until 7- this soup was sitting on my lap, ready for slurping and nomming in time for Jeopardy- 7:30 PM! WOO.
An important note for anyone following a special diet- the main offender in this soup is the cheese. It is EASILY left out. Your sub is to add a healthy pinch of salt and finish your bowl with a touch of olive oil to add some additional richness. Also, I know that my sausage does not contain fillers or additives- it is from the CSA- so if you are looking for GF or Paleo- just check the meat to make sure it is made of MEAT. You’d be surprised what is sold out there. Or maybe not. Also, I put beans in my soup- another easy thing to simply leave out. I would suggest adding some additional veggies- cauliflower, carrots, or another sturdy (read- won’t disintegrate) veggie would be delicious.
SO- for the exact soup I made tonight, no subs or alterations: 2 Cans of Cannellini beans (I use organic), 1lb of sausage. Usually we use hot Italian- we only had sweet so I bumped it up with additional hot pepper flakes. 2 Large bunches tuscan kale, some small tomatoes, 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, and 3 cups of homemade chicken stock (or store bought, but you know how I feel about that).
Start by chopping up 4 large cloves of garlic. Heat a large pot, adding smidge of olive oil (just to get the garlic going), and add the garlic.
After the garlic is lightly fragrant, add the sausage. Break it up with the spoon, but don’t move it too much- we want it to BROWN. Not gray- BROWN.
Starting to brown…
Almost there! Just give it a couple more minutes. While we wait, let’s get the kale together. I take the leaves off the stem on one movement, holding the stem at the bottom and running my hand up and along the rib- just like you probably took all of the leaves off of a branch as a kid
Add the kale to the pot, stirring and folding the sausage into the leaves. Our huge pile of kale is going to shrink significantly. Meanwhile, Mike was grating the cheese and chopping up the tomatoes. What a good guy! The stock is added next- and also the beans. If you are using cheese, also add 1/2 a cup of grated pecorino at this time… Bring the soup to a boil, then add the tomatoes.
The soup, at this point, is basically done. It is excellent left over, but honestly its DONE as soon as it comes back up to a simmer. Taste the broth- it should be quite flavorful- I find that with the cheese (and with adding more cheese at the end) that I don’t need to add any more salt. If you are making substitutions, you will likely need some salt. OH, and another note on subs- I do not recommend skipping the sausage. And not only do I not recommend it- I INSIST that you hunt around for some really awesome sausage. The flavor base of the soup comes from the meat and how it has been seasoned! We often use homemade sausage- but that’s a whole other post for an entirely new night:)
Plate up your soup- make it pretty, and breathe in the garlicky, meaty, warm steam coming off of it- yes- that is OUR dinner. On the table in 30 minutes.
- 2 Large Bunches Tuscan Kale, ribs/stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1lb Hot Italian Sausage
- 1 Tsp (or more) Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 Cans Cannellini Beans.
- 4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
- 2 large or 4 small tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup grated pecorino romano, + more for topping
- 3 Cups of Chicken Stock. More if you want it brothier.
- Olive Oil
- Heat a large pot with a small amount (couple of teaspoons) of olive oil. Add the garlic, cook for one minute.
- Add the sausage, and brown it well. Do not stir too much.
- When the sausage is really nice and brown, add the kale. Stir and fold in the sausage, wilting the greens.
- Add the stock, and beans, and cheese. If subbing beans for veggies, add them now. Bring to a gentle bubble. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until veggies are done. (Bean users will find that 10 minutes is plenty).
- Add the tomatoes a minute or two before serving (so they hold and retain their shape).
- Taste for salt and pepper.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with pecorino romano cheese.