Last week, a high fever ran rampant through our house. It threatened to derail all holiday tasks and planning. Thankfully, I had already made this soup. The tender chunks of zucchini, zesty tomato base and filling chicken sausage made it the perfect antidote to my sickeness. My eleven year old preferred gingerale and nutella on crackers to combat his cold. That’s o.k. I was so sick, I didn’t even get mad at him for refusing to even try it. I ‘m glad to have had plenty of this soup to heat up and eat in my bathrobe while I wished my cold away.
All I could think about was how much I still had left to do: the holiday baking, shopping, wrapping and don’t forget all the driving. It seems my kids are doing just about everything possible at this point in their lives. It’s good that they are busy and happy to participate in all manner of activities from tap dancing to travel basketball. But all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch Iron Chef. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.
I am on the mend now and able to document the recipe that brought me back to the living. The original source is from and incredible cookbook called, Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst. I changed up a few things. Mainly the sausage: I used chicken and could not find hot Italian chicken sausage at my local market. Instead, I used some Italian chicken and cheese sausage and chicken and kale sausage. It worked. I also added a parmesan rind to the soup as it simmered to add some richness to the broth. Fresh basil at this time of year is pretty rough, if you can find it at all in a New England supermarket, so I opted to leave it out. Here is my version of “Hope’s Italian Sausage-Zucchini Soup”. I hope you make it in good health.
Chicken Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
total 16 oz. chicken sausage: Italian, Cheese, or any type you like, casings removed
1 small onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves minced
black pepper2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
2 lbs. zucchini, diced
3 large celery stalks, diced
1 large yellow or orange pepper, diced
2-4 cups chicken stock
pinch of red chili flakes
garnish: parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium high. remove the casings from sausage and add to warm oil. Cook sausage, breaking up pieces as it browns. Once the sausage is cooked through, add the onion and garlic. Turn heat to medium low and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary. Add the tomatoes, parsley and sugar. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the zucchini, celery, yellow/orange pepper, chicken stock, chili flakes and parmesan rind. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
To serve: ladle into bowls and top with grated parmesan and chopped parsley.