This soup is perfect for chilly days. It’s spicy, rich and savory. It’s also inexpensive to make and very customizable. I’ve made it vegetarian-style by leaving out the sausage and using vegetable stock, and sometimes I skip the mirepoix altogether (especially in the winter, when I’m using up odds and ends and it can be sort of difficult to get to the store). You can throw in any filled pasta; I’ve tried it with ravioli and that worked fairly well. I usually use a small bag of frozen mixed vegetables in this soup, but fresh vegetables of almost any variety are also great if you can get them.
1 package of hot Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
12 to 16 ounces of mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen
Small pack of fresh or frozen tortellini (9 or 12 ounces)
Remove the sausage from its casing by slitting it up the side with a sharp knife and squeezing it into a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Discard the sausage casings. Cook the meat over medium heat, chopping it into small bits as it cooks, until no pink remains. Drain at least 75 percent of the grease from the pan, but leave a bit behind to cook the mirepoix and flavor the soup.
Add the chopped onion, carrot and celery to the pot and saute until soft and translucent. Pour in the stock and diced tomatoes (in the juice) and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Add the vegetables to the pot. If using frozen vegetables, allow the broth to reach at least a simmer again before adding the tortellini. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and/or Tony Chachere’s seasoning to taste.