When soup season rolls around, make a pot of Italian Lentil, Sausage, And Pasta Soup. It is a flavorful and hearty soup, nourishing and quick cooking, so it makes a delicious a weekday meal for you and your family.
I try to cook healthy meals and lentils are highly nutritious. They have a low caloric content, are high in protein and fiber and support good heart health. But, and it is a big BUT, if I told my husband that dinner was going to be a bowl of lentils he would probably mumble and grumble but would eat and probably enjoy them. Now if I take those same lentils and add some Italian hot sausage and just a little pasta, he is all smiles. I didn’t tell him that this high fiber, antioxidant filled soup is good for him. Keeping our loved ones healthy sometimes takes a little bit of strategy, don’t you think.
This is a versatile soup in that you can use either chicken or pork sausage, vegetable or chicken stock. You can use as much or as little pasta as you like or leave it out entirely. Want more vegetables, add tomatoes, spinach or kale. Prepare this flavorful soup according to your family’s tastes and I think there will be smiles all around the table.
Italian Lentil, Sausage and Pasta Soup
Serves 2 – 4 as a main course, adjust the recipe accordingly.
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil plus extra for drizzling
- 8 oz (about 2 links) Italian sausage, pork, turkey or chicken, casings removed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 c. lentils (I used French green because they hold their shape) sorted and rinsed
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 c. white wine
- 1 c. water (if needed)
- 4 c. stock, chicken or vegetable
- 2 – 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 c. small tube pasta such as ditalini*
- a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Sauté the sausage in 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot over medium heat, breaking up the meat into pieces, until brown. Add the carrots, celery and onions and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, herbs, bay leaf and tomato paste, stir well and cook about 1 minute. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add in the stock and bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer covered, with the lid slightly ajar, until lentils are almost tender, about 20 minutes. Season with the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, if using. Stir in the pasta and continue to cook until the pasta is done, about 10 minutes. The pasta will absorb some of the stock so ff the soup gets too thick, you can add some water. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs before serving. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Serve with freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese.
*If you plan to eat the soup over several days, cook the pasta separately. Add the pasta before serving so that it doesn’t overcook.
This is a complete meal in a bowl but if you want, a green salad and a piece of crusty bread would be a nice addition. A good glass of Tuscan red wine would be great as well. The next time you think about making soup for dinner, try this hearty Italian lentil, sausage and pasta soup. I know your family will enjoy it even if they may not realize that it is also a meal that is good for them.