This is a glorious hearty soup with a bit of Italian Sausage, some smoky bacon, beans, lentils, cauliflower and your favorite hearty vegetables. I have topped it with some fresh chopped herbs and some robust exceptional Franci Villa Magra Olive oil which is a robust and peppery extra virgin olive oil from the region. Feel free to add some grated Parmesan and don't forget the crusty bread and the red wine!!
You will need:
- 2 slices of smokey bacon
- 2 fresh hot Italian sausages - casings removed
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil - like Amelia Oil from Umbria
- 2 leeks- washed and cut into large pieces
- 1 carrot- washed stem end removed - chopped into large pieces
- 1 stalk celery -washed cut into large pieces
- 4 cloves garlic - peeled
- 1 small onion - peel and chopped into large pieces
- 1 tbsp dry Italian seasonings - mine has chili flakes in it if yours does not add 1/2 tsp
- lots of salt and pepper - you will need to taste and re-adjust a few times while cooking
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1 small can 14oz of crushed tomatoes
- 1 small can 14 oz of cannelini beans
- 1/2 cup french green lentils
- 1/2 small savoy cabbage - sliced
- 5 or 6 cauliflower florets - sliced thin
- a handful of fresh basil leaves, chives and parsley - chopped fine
- a drizzle of great extra virgin olive oil - like a robust and peppery Franci Villa Magra
- Parmesano Reggiano cheese - freshly grated at serving
- a glass of red wine and a heel of crusty bread
Step 1: in a food processor add peeled sausages (casings removed) and bacon - you can place them in the food processor uncooked or cooked. I had some left from the previous dinner. Puree until finely minced.
Step 2: in a large pot with a drizzle of good oil (ok, I always use a glug!) cook the bacon and sausages until they are crunchy and browned a bit.
Step 3: add leeks, carrot, celery, garlic and onion into food processor pulse a few times until fine but there is still a bit of consistency to the vegetables left. Do not completely puree.
Step 4: add vegetable mix to hot pan and cook for 5 minutes to saute vegetables and cook off most of the water. Add Italian seasonings, hot chili flakes and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. You can and should taste after it has cooked for 30 minutes to re-adjust seasonings if necessary.
Step 5: add chicken stock (or a bottle of beer would work well here) and crushed tomatoes. Stir and add lentils. Cook on low heat (nice steady blip not a heavy boil here!) for 30 minutes.
Step 6: add sliced cabbage, cannelini beans, and cauliflower sliced. Cook another 20 minutes. Add a bit of water if you find it too thick. It should be a hearty bowl of soup though. Taste it and adjust as necessary for salt and pepper. You can also add Kale or chard to this kind of soup.
Step 7: finely chop fresh herbs and add to some extra virgin olive oil like Franci -Villa Magra this is a big robust and peppery olive oil and perfect added at the end as a drizzle.
Serve with a spoon of chopped herbs and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil and a fresh grating of Parmesan. Get the bread and wine and enjoy!! It is hearty and warming with a hint of smokiness.