By the way, that's the best idea ever. If you're gonna get a new mom something, get her homemade food she can heat up and scarf down while nursing an infant to sleep. Best - idea - ever.
Anyway, ever since then, I've been in love with sausage soup. I've taken the recipe Mary gave me and stretched it out a bit to encompass my love for tomato soup. When winter rolls around, I typically make two or three batches of it. Be prepared, though. The soup will not stick around long because it's just too darn good. That being said, you can get a lot out of this hearty meal!
Tonight I made another batch since I wanted to finish up some canned beans I had handy (any will do). For those of you who want to treat yourself to a new recipe, here's what I did:
I opened these cans and mixed them in the largest of my pots over low heat. Then I got to work with my sausage. Two family-size packages of Italian sausage: one sweet and one spicy!
By the time you finish cutting up the potatoes, the sausage should be sufficiently browned. Since I like my sausage bits super small in the soup (almost like chili), I grind the ripped bits in a food processor for a few seconds before browning them again. You don't have to do that. I just like doing it because I prefer the texture smaller chunks gives the soup. Plus, it's always entertaining to see my cats scurry away in fear of the magic machine that eats what I'm sure they assume is their rightful food.
Take note of where my little handle buttons are. They typically come close to disappearing by the time I'm done adding everything. When I make batches... I go to town. :)
At this point I typically add a chopped white onion to the soup. Somehow, they always retain their crunchiness, even throughout storage and reheating. If I had any leftover pasta bits, I'd throw them in, too, but I didn't have any on hand tonight, so this sufficed. I did, however, add freshly grated pecorino romano cheese to the top of my bowl. That tastes magnificent with this soup.
So that, dear Internet, is my gift to you. A twist on a favorite given to me by my friend, Mary. Thanks, Mar!!!