At the end of every summer, on the first chilly day we have, I fire up the crock pot and make this. It is my ultimate comfort food. I love the melding of all the flavors. The zucchini is my favorite. (I usually use standard zucchini, but this week at Whole Foods they had cute mini zucchini that I just sliced into rounds.) My mom has been making it since I was very young, which is probably why I love it so much. I don't know where it originated, so I'm giving credit to her on this one. She doesn't cook much anymore these days. I can't wait to make this for her when she comes to visit at the end of the month.
The Italian sausage is how this gets its name, but I also really love the red, green and white colors of the ingredients - like the Italian flag. You brown the sausage before throwing it in the crock pot, just long enough to get it nice and brown. It will finish cooking in the soup. *Tip: It is MUCH easier to slice sausage when it is just out of the freezer. Even if you buy it fresh, toss it in the freezer just to save your sanity when it comes time to slice it.
I like to serve this hearty stew with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top and some nice, warm, crusty bread.
Italian Sausage Soup
courtesy of my mom
- 5 links medium Italian sausage
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded, large diced
- 1 medium onion, large diced
- 2 zucchini, halved and sliced into half rounds
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 1 32 oz box of beef broth, low sodium (or 3 cans)
- salt and pepper to taste
- minced fresh parsley
1. Slice the sausage and brown it on both sides over medium heat. Remove from the pan to a paper towel lined plate to remove some of the excess fat.
2. Put the pepper, onion, zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, broth, sausage and salt and pepper into the crock pot. Let it cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.
3. When you are ready to serve, add the parsley (and parmesan cheese, if desired) to the top.
For those who are not crock pot fans or owners, I have made it on the stove top. It can be done. But do give it a low, long simmer. You will be rewarded.