So the other day, when we were having one of our dark-dismal-rainy days, I decided to check out my Google Reader and see what I had marked as "must makes" in the soup department. I recently had seen this recipe from Picky Palate and remembered how easy and delicious it sounded. I also knew that it called for ingredients that I just happened to have on hand.
One important note: I have a deep freezer (A.K.A. MY BEST FRIEND! sorry Jenn :o) ) and a fully stocked pantry. Yes my friends, these items are the best thing that anyone who loves to cook must have. I love being able to walk out to my freezer and get italian sausage or ground beef or whatever. Not having to run to the store is a God send ... especially on those dark-dismal-rainy days!! So I must share with you one staple that always seems to come in handy. We are all guilty of short cuts. There is always that day when making something COMPLETELY homemade just isn't going to cut it! For me ... I must always keep on hand a jar of Traditional flavored Ragu! Now I must admit, I make my pasta sauce 100% homemade and when it comes to spaghetti I must use my homemade stuff (and that is why I have a deep freezer - seriously you should see all the sauce and jam and soup and meat and everything I have in there! LOL), but I can't tell you the number of times I have been happy that the Ragu was sitting in my pantry! There are a lot of recipes out there where having a jar of sauce on hand is very helpful. I could probably go on and on about freezer/pantry staples, but why would I want to continue to bore you when what you really want to hear about it the Creamy Tomato Basil Italian Soup!!!
This soup was so tasty. It really hit the spot and it was so filling. I tried to make mine less fatty by using skim milk instead of half and half, but if you don't care about that then I suggest using half and half for a much creamier soup! But the skim milk to me was probably just as tasty! Maybe I am just biased, because Basil is one of my favorite herbs to cook with (I can't keep enough of it in my garden), but basil and tomato are great flavors to marry. I actually added extra Basil just because I like it so much! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did...and yes I made extra so I could put some in my freezer!!! LOL I am telling you my deep freezer would rock your socks off!
Creamy Tomato Basil Italian Sausage Soup
(adapted from Picky Palate)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb Italian Sausage
15 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (stacked, rolled and thinly sliced)
1 26 oz jar of whatever pasta sauce you like (you could use homemade I cheated and used Ragu)
1 Cup water
1 1/2 Cups Skim Milk
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Place olive oil into a medium sized dutch oven over medium heat. Cook sausage until browned, stirring frequently and breaking up the sausage into small pieces. Stir in basil leaves, pasta sauce, water, milk, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook until warm then reduce heat to low. Simmer until ready to serve. I simmered mine about 30 minutes...I wanted to give the soup time to let the flavors mingle! But if you are in a time crunch this soup is really ready once everything is added to the pot and it is warmed up.