I have a confession to make: I’m in the midst of a weather identity crisis. I’m a girl who grew up with 4 distinct seasons, who craves that change every couple of months. Well, now I live in a land where if it’s not too hot to go outside, it’s too rainy to go outside; yeah, there are a few magical weeks in the “spring” and “fall” when the weather is fabulous and relatively mosquito-free. But there just aren’t those breathtaking weeks in the spring when all the trees are blooming. The colors don’t really change in the fall–it’s just like one day, all the leaves have fallen off the trees. It’s devastating.
Throw in the bipolar weather and all is not well in my world! This is the middle of October and it is hot. So…I’ve started cranking my air conditioner waaaaaay down low. Like “That Snuggie is looking good!” low. Like “Is she going through premature menopause?” low. Like “Let’s call child services because this girl is putting her 2-year-old in footie pajamas when it’s 90 degrees outside” low. But I have needs! This is soup season and it has been WAY too long since I’ve had soups simmering in my kitchen. I honestly don’t care anymore if my utility bill is ridiculous. I’ll tell you what’s ridiculous: any temperature over 83 degrees in October. There. I said it. Soup’s on, baby.
When I started my family/personal blog a few years ago, I occasionally posted my favorite recipes to share with my friends and family (yeah, look where that got me! 🙂 ). This was not only one of the first that I shared, but also one of my favorites. Ever. Of all-time. I got this recipe from my friend Jen and along with my friend Lisa’s breadsticks, it is pretty much the perfect meal. It’s my go-to meal to take to friends who are sick or sad. I make it for my family when we’re celebrating–I mean, really, there’s no bad time to make this soup and I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t just about die with happiness when they eat it.
To get started, you’re going to need about 1/2 pound of sausage or 3 links of Italian sausage (I use mild/sweet, but if you like it spicy, go for the spicy sausage), an onion, and some garlic.
Begin preheating a large soup pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. If you’re using link sausage, remove the casings and crumble into the preheated pot. To remove the casings, you can use a sharp knife to cut a slit down one side of the sausage and then peel back the casing. And just so you know, both Sara and I have tried taking pictures of this method and there is no G-rated way of posting those pictures…
Begin cooking sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently. If your sausage is pretty fatty, you’ll want to drain it when it’s about halfway cooked. Meanwhile, chop onions and garlic and add to the sausage. Continue cooking until onions are translucent and your sausage is cooked. Your house will smell heavenly.
Add a can of diced tomatoes, a small can of tomato sauce, some apple juice (don’t forget this or leave it out because you think it’s weird–you’ll be sad if you do!), water, and a quart of chicken broth.
Also add in a cup of chopped carrots and a teaspoon each of oregano, and basil.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. While that’s simmering, shred two medium zucchini, measure out two tablespoons of parsley, and round up 10 ounces of cheese tortellini.
When the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the zucchini and parsley (NOT the tortellini). Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the tortellini and simmer for another 8-10 minutes or until the tortellini is tender.
Serve with bread and freshly-grated Parmesan.
Note: If you’re making these breadsticks, start the dough first, then prepare the first “phase” of the soup while the dough is rising. While the soup is simmering, twist the breadsticks, let them rise, and they’ll be done baking about the same time the soup is done.
Tortellini Sausage Soup
Hearty and satisfying, this is one of our all-time favorite soups!
- 3 links Italian sausage
- 4 cloves pressed garlic
- 1 onion, diced
- ½ c. water
- 2 15-oz. cans chicken broth
- ½ c. apple cider (don’t leave this out! I did once and it wasn’t the same…)
- 1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 c. sliced carrots
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 medium zucchini, grated (great way to use your food processor if you have one
- 8–10 oz. package cheese tortellini (check the freezer section of your grocery store; if you can find it there, it will almost always be way cheaper than fresh tortellini. Also, Barilla makes a great dry cheese tortellini)
- 2 Tbsp. dried parsley (yes, that’s two tablespoons)
- If you’re using link sausage, remove the casings and crumble into a large soup pot. To remove the casings, you can use a sharp knife to cut a slit down one side of the sausage and then peel back the casing.
- Chop onion and add to pot with garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Continue cooking until onions are translucent and your sausage is cooked. Your house will smell heavenly.
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, cider, water, chicken broth, carrots, oregano, and basil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Add parsley and zucchini and simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Add the tortellini and cook until tender, and then serve with bread and freshly-grated Parmesan.
- If you need to thin out leftovers, just add a little additional broth.
Do you think you could substitute some other form of pasta that doesn't have cheese? My son has a milk allergy. We've managed to find a meat tortellini that doesn't have milk but I don't think that would work. Any suggestions?
I have this same exact recipe! I always end up adding about 5 cups broth because it's just not "soupy" enough for me. I also use fresh parsley. We had this for dinner tonight so I had to laugh when I checked your blog and you posted it today. It's our favorite!
Ooh… that soup sounds delicious! I will have to give it a try. Another great recipe!
I just discovered you blog last week and I'm addicted. 🙂 This recipe sounds delicious! I will be making this for dinner tomorrow night since here in CT it will be in the 40's tomorrow. 🙁
I totally hear ya on the whole seasons thing! It's 85 and muggy as heck in Louisiana right now, since it just finished raining. I was born in Portland, OR–where we DID have seasons. Eventually you will get used to weather on the Gulf Coast, Kate. It's only taken me 17 years or so… 🙂
haha Funny you posted this. I am making this tonight and taking it in to a family that just had a baby! I have an almost identical receipe for it. I have never done the apple cider though, might have to try it!
Mmmm,that looks and sounds delicious!! I'll be making that when it cools down again too. It was windy & rainy yesterday, made soup..today its 75 degrees, go figure! 🙂
Kate! Looks good as always. I so need to call you. You know, maybe this would be a good time to come visit since it is FREEZING in NY already. I have my heat on and 3 blankets on my bed already! Ahh – and after a cold, soggy summer… the ingredients to this soup are sooo going on my grocery list to warm up my little bunch!! :^)
momof2girls–You could definitely leave it out and have it be vegetarian, but I think you might lose some of the really great flavor. If you're into TVP, maybe you could season some TVP with Italian Sausage Seasoning (try http://www.penzeys.com to find it) and add that in?
Gina–Try asking someone in the meat department to point out the Italian sausage :). It comes in casings and when you cut the casings open, it crumbles kind of like ground beef. Smoked and Polish sausage, on the other hand, are more "solid" inside.
Julie–Hmmm…I think you should be okay without doubling it–I would say this recipe GENEROUSLY serves 8. We had some friends over who have 4 kids, so we had 4 adults and 6 kids, including a teenage boy and an almost-teenage boy. I doubled the recipes and we had tons and TONS of leftovers.
How many does this serve? I'm getting ready to make it tonight, but am not sure whether I need to double it or not. 2 adults and 5 little boys, but some with big appetites!
stupid question, is Smoked sausage same as italian sausage (or at least a worthy substitute)? I only see 3 different sausage types at the store: spicy, smoked, and Polish but I get lost in the meat section.
The weather here (Houston) isn't cooperating either. The calendar says Fall, but the weather says SUMMER (high of 90 today). I'm pretending its fall too, with my pumpkin candles, fall decor, and lots of soups, chilis, and other comfort foods. Your soup looks yummy!
Your blog not only gives me awesome recipes, it almost always makes me laugh. Thanks!
This looks AMAZING!!!
Fabulous, Fabulous, Fabulous! My boys will LOVE this, thank you!
Yummy!! This soup looks great!! I totally know how you feel about the weather-seriously, i was laughing out loud when you were talking about kids in footie pjs and that whole paragraph. I live in Alabama (originaly from UT)….I know how you feel!!!!!!!!
Thanks for sharing!! I love your blog!!!!!!!!!!
i've been making soup every week. thank you for this recipe. i'll try it soon. i love aidell's italian sausage (made from turkey). no MSG and it tastes so good. 🙂
Angela- I usually estimate 1-1/2 C shredded zucchini for every 1 "medium zucchini" in a recipe. And with a soup, you can't really go wrong rounding either up or down 🙂
Haha Kate – and I grew up in that part of the world and now live in the land of seasons. I freak out every year when summer is ending, I just can't handle it. I can't wait to spend this Christmas on the beach 🙂
Delicious looking soup!
Oooh, I make this one ALLL the time. And, people always ask me for the recipe and I gladly share it, then point them to your site. This really is a great go-to recipe.
Hey I'm famous 🙂 I always make mine with turkey sausage and I cube the zucchini–I like my soup chunky!
Jenn–Yep, it's all dried! I went in and changed it to make things more clear. Thanks! 🙂
For the basil, you specified that it's dried basil. You didn't specify for the oregano & parsely. Should they both be dried as well?
I seriously just made this with Apple cider vinegar! ????????♀️ Lol oh my. Okay well I guess I’ll start over! I hadn’t put the zucchini or pasta in yet.
Ohhhh…this looks good! It sounds like a wonderful tasting soup!
This looks so yummy. I am going to have to try it. I have 50 1 cup bags of grated zucchini I put in my freezer when my garden was plentiful so this is a great way to use some of that. Thank you for all your inspiration!
About how much zucchini do you add . . . I am never good at the 2 medium zucchini's. Thanks
Trying this for sure, maybe tonight! We just pressed some apples and made apple cider at our cabin so this will be perfect! I might try this with italian turkey sausage.
Could you leave the sausage out to make it veg? This sounds so good! I have the same problem with 80's & 90's here in Arizona. I'm looking forward to making lots of soups and oatmeal when the weather cools off a bit more.
I think you probably could, but you would need to add something like a mushroom/crushed fennel/red pepper flake combo to make up for the bulk and spiciness you would lose by leaving out the sausage.
This sounds and looks wonderful. I live in SO. Ill. where we enjoy all four seasons- Autumn being my favorite. I think I would be depressed if I had to give it up. I forget that others don't enjoy the changing seasons- I just assume it's "Fall" everywhere.
Your soup screams comfort though. It has to help!
I tried this the other day & it was great!! I didn’t have any Zucchini so I substituted a little finely chopped celery. Very good – We thought it tasted a little like pizza, in soup form!
Bookmark this soup as a MUST make for cold weather….it is perfect with homemade bread…
I made it in the crockpot and simmered all day….I didn’t brown anything…maybe 6 to 7 hours total.
I added carrots at last hour, and the shredded zucchini last 30 minutes….and tortellini last 15 mins….