After the horrific soup I made the other day, I decided to go back to a classic soup recipe that I have been making forever. I fell in love with it when my sister Jamie made it for dinner one night for our family. I was going to university and having a spiritual awakening to food thanks to The Mists of Avalon. There was something about this soup that made me feel like I had been transported to another world, one of feasting and magic. It was the first time I realized there was more than just nutritional value in food.
As you all probably know, I rarely eat pork. My husband NEVER eats it so I had to only make half the recipe since I would be eating it alone. I got three links of mild Italian sausage, cut them out of their casings and sliced into bite-sized pieces. I sauteed them in a large Dutch oven in some olive oil over medium high heat for five minutes on each side, making sure they browned nicely. Then I let them drain on some paper towel.
While the sausage was cooking I prepared all the vegetables. I had bought this beautiful bunch of fresh spinach from a market and wanted to use it instead of frozen spinach, which is fine to use. I cut up the spinach, filled a very large bowl with water, added some vinegar and salt and then added the spinach. I moved it around, swishing it to help all the dirt fall to the bottom. I strained, rinsed and soaked in more water until I knew it was very clean. I also submerge half a cup of broccoli florets in salted water to get them very clean.
I got out 1/2 cup of frozen corn and sliced half a zucchini to finish off the veggies. And then?
I dumped everything back into the Dutch oven and added 2 cups of water, 2 cups of beef broth, 1/2 tsp of dried basil and 1/2 tsp of dried oregano. I stirred it altogether, brought to a boil, reduced heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. The original recipe calls for cooking the cheese tortellini in the soup but the cooking time is all wrong and if you do not eat the whole batch the pasta will continue to soak up the broth and swell so I made it on the side. Add tortellini to your bowl and top with soup: