The weather has cooled down here, and that means I can start cooking the type of food I avoid in the summer: Roasts, stew, and hearty soup. I love soup, an affection formed when I was a child. My mom made wonderful soups, but I also ate a lot of Campbell's soup for lunch. Eating a bowl of soup usually makes me feel emotionally and physically satisfied. And as long as it isn't a high calorie soup, it's a healthy choice, good for losing weight and keeping the weight off. This soup is lean, even though it contains sausage. I used a lower fat turkey kielbasa, which gave the soup a nice smokey flavor. The soup is packed with vitamins and fiber. But, most important to me, it was delicious and quite easy to make. It took about 45 minutes to make the soup. I used brown lentils, which cook in about 30 minutes, but you can use any kind of lentil that you like.
This soup soaks up quite a bit of the stock. You can make it as thick or soupy as you want. As you can see, this was thick, (called "thoup" in my family). The soup contains pennette, tiny versions of penne. It's been two weeks since I took part in Presto Pasta Night, so this is my return to the event which was started by the lovely Ruth at Once Upon A Feast. Stop by her site tomorrow and check out the roundup of pasta dishes from around the world.
Lentil Soup with Pennette and Sausage
(Adapted from Williams-Sonoma)
3 Tbs. olive oil
8 oz. chopped turkey sausage (or sausage or your choice)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
2 cups lentils
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped, with juice
6 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 Tbs. salt, plus more, to taste
1/4 lb. pannetti, tubettini, ditalini or other small soup
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Make the soup base
In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausage and sauté until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and sage and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes.
Cook the lentils
Stir in the lentils and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the 6 cups broth and bring to a boil. Add the 1 Tbs. salt, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are nearly tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Add more broth if the soup starts to dry out. I had to add over a cup of the broth.
Cook the pasta
Add the pasta to the lentils. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the pasta is not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package instructions. The pasta will continue to cook in the heat of the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.