Thursday dinner: Sausage, spinach and white bean soup

“Holy crap. How many people did you cook for?”

The Wife hit a particularly annoying nail on the head. The author of this recipe swung hard and missed badly on their ingredient proportions. For instance, a full pound of pasta plus 19 oz of white beans overwhelms the 40 oz. of liquid. That much starch acts like a sponge, sucking up the broth and water combination. And, for a tomato-based soup, 14 oz. of tomato is far too little.

One of the things that drives me nuts about food blogs is that anyone can write one. I mean, really, look at the piece of crap you’re reading right now. The recipe, at the outset, looks perfectly fine. In practice, well, I learned otherwise. By the time I ladled the bowls of soup for The Wife and I, I added an additional 24 oz. of broth, which thinned the sausage and tomato flavors out. It’s supposed to be a soup not a pasta dish,  and I attempted to fix where the original author went awry.

Sausage, spinach and white bean soup
Adapted and fixed from the original at 

  • Olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. bulk Italian sausage, or removed from casings
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 oz. dry small pasta (I used Barilla Piccolini rotini)
  • 26 oz. can of crushed tomatoes or coarse chopped tomatoes or whole tomatoes in juice coarsely cut in the can with a knife
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano or basil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, loosely packed, or 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 16 oz. can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a large saucepan set over medium heat, heat a drizzle of oil and sauté the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until it is browned.

Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft. Add the water, pasta, tomato sauce, stock, oregano, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the pasta is tender.

Add the spinach and beans and cook the soup for another 3 to 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with grated Parmesan while still hot.

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