White Minestrone with Fennel and Sausage
This high-protein soup will give you energy on a cold day.
- 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for drizzling
- 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage
- 1 bulb fennel, chopped, plus a handful of fennel fronds, chopped
- 1 large onion or 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
- 1 bundle Swiss chard or 1/4 head cabbage, trimmed or cored and chopped
- A pinch of nutmeg, or to taste
- Salt and pepper
- A handful freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus its rind, plus more for shaving at table
- 1 large fresh bay leaf
- 1 can white beans (14 ounces), drained and rinsed
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup short fusilli pasta
- 1/2-2/3 cup frozen peas (a couple of small handfuls)
- A handful of parsley, chopped
- A handful of basil, torn or shredded
- Heat a couple of tablespoons EVOO, two turns of the pan, in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Lightly brown the sausage and crumble into small bits. Add the fennel, onion, garlic and chard or cabbage. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and throw in the cheese rind and bay leaf.
- Cover the pot and sweat the vegetables, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white beans and stock plus 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Stir in the fusilli; when just about cooked to al dente, stir in the peas and turn off the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Adjust the salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the parsley, basil and fennel fronds. Remove the cheese rind and serve in shallow bowls with an extra drizzle of EVOO on top and some shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.