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Italian soup elevates lowly pork

Jan. 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

I'm going to cut right to it. This is fabulous. And it's not every day I'd say such a thing about sausage. Because most often, I find myself snubbing anything to do with ground up pork (a.k.a mush). I'm not sure where my prejudice finds its roots, but I suspect it lies somewhere among the non-kosher label it proudly wears.

Either I pay attention to my very small conviction that eating kosher dictates or I decide if you cook any meat long enough, anything harmful is dealt with swiftly -- which is obviously where my conflict settled: Italian Wedding Soup. Even though I was inclined to handle the creation of this soup with a tiny bit of reservations, stripping it of any sophistication by calling it Sausage Soup, I began adding ingredients that slowly made sense.

By the time the flavors intermingled and became one, I was not only saying, "Okay, I get it," I was adding a great big rhetorical check mark on this dish as one I'm going to serve for important events like Sunday dinner, my son returning from college for a visit, or my continuous quest of making my boyfriend believe I'm the best cook he's ever known.

It really is that awesome and a perfect example of how something as lowly as pork -- a poor man's meat with a bad reputation -- can be exalted as the crown-wearing headliner in a famous Italian soup.


1/2 lb. hot sausage

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped celery

2 T. Butter

1 T. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 small cans chicken broth

1 quart water

4 T. fresh chopped parsley

1 egg

1 cup coarsely chopped kale (optional)

1 cup macaroni, prepared according to package

1 tsp. salt

In a bowl, combine the sausage, bread crumbs, cheese and egg. Mix well. Set aside.

In a large stock pan, add the butter, oil, onions, celery, garlic and mushrooms and sauté for 1 minute. Add the water and broth. Bring to boil. Drop in meat mixture by spoonfuls. Add the kale and bring to boil for 10 minutes. Add the salt. Add macaroni. Remove from heat and let it sit for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.

Serve and top with parsley and extra parmesan cheese.

Janet McCormick is the author of "10-Minute Meals." She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.