Recipe for chicken sausage, zucchini and mushroom soup
"Spontaneity is so often the result of elaborate planning." I read that in the Wall Street Journal last week, in an article about the merits of a well-stocked pantry, and it describes this sausage, zucchini and mushroom soup perfectly. At the time this soup felt like a spontaneous combustion, but I suspect I'd had it in mind all week. In the pantry, I found some hot Italian chicken sausage, studded with fragrant fennel seed, along with a couple of zucchini and some sliced white mushrooms that needed to be used. My cheese drawer always holds a precious collection of Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds, which add body and a bit of salt to any type of vegetable soup.
Chicken sausage, zucchini and mushroom soup
Serves 4-6; can be doubled, and can be frozen.
2 tsp olive oil
12 oz spicy Italian chicken sausage (4 links), cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch half-moons
2 leeks, trimmed and washed, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 zucchini, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch half moons
8 oz thick-sliced button or cremini mushrooms
1 tsp thyme leaf
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 quart chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium store-bought
1 piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish (optional)
In a five-quart Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned on both sides. Stir in the leeks, zucchini and mushrooms, and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, until the leeks are wilted. Add the thyme and red pepper flakes, and stir for 30 seconds.
Pour in the broth, toss in the cheese rind, and raise the heat to high. When the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve hot, topped with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.