How to make minestrone soup with sausage, fennel, white beans and pasta. Jump to the Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.
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How to Make Minestrone with Sausage and Fennel
We make this easy soup often. You can think of our recipe as a guide — this is perfect for using up vegetables in the refrigerator. Potatoes, kale, turnips and squash would all be excellent added to the soup.
I love the addition of sausage for this, it adds so much flavor. For a meatless minestrone, skip the sausage and replace the chicken stock with a hearty vegetable stock. It still tastes great, just different. If you have access to it, fennel is delicious in this. It adds a sweet, licorice flavor. I especially love it with the sausage.
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Recipe updated, originally posted August 2009. Since posting this in 2009, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Minestrone Soup Recipe with Sausage and Fennel
Think of this recipe as a guide. The soup is excellent as written, but this is the perfect opportunity to use up vegetables in the fridge. This is great eaten straight away and it will keep overnight. The pasta may become softer overtime, but the flavors of the soup will improve.
You Will Need
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces bulk spicy or Italian pork sausage, see note
2 medium bulbs fennel, trimmed and finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, finely chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
8 cups low-sodium chicken stock, see how we make chicken stock
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3/4 cup small dried pasta such as penne, elbow or orecchiette
1 pound baby spinach (about 4 cups)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, chopped
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add the fennel, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add zucchini, tomatoes with juice, beans, bay leaf, thyme and the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt, taste then adjust with more as needed. Add 6 to 7 generous grinds of black pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes.
Add pasta and cook until it is tender but not mushy, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and parsley and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust with more salt and/or pepper. Serve with parmesan cheese on top.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Depending on the store, you can find bulk sausage. If you cannot and instead buy sausage formed into links, remove the casings by cutting a slit down the sausage and pulling the casing away from the meat. The meat from two large sausages should do it.