Spicy Sausage, Kale and Whole Wheat Orecchiette Soup.

I’m thinking that my 2014 is already off to a great start since I’m getting really good at math.

For instance, I figured out that if you eat two bowls of this soup and times it by the number of steps you take from the stove to the table, you can have that number of cookies. If you divide the number of spoonfuls you take from the pot while cooking with the number of red chili flakes in the pot (give it a good old fashioned estimate), that’s how many seconds you need to run tomorrow to burn off said cookies. Spoiler alert: it’s not that many. Jessica math.

The square root of the number of little pasta noodles in your soup is directly correlated to the number of cocktails you should consume while preparing this meal.

See? Everyone wins.

If you would have told me three years ago that I would be eating kale period, I would have laughed in your face. Heck, had you told me two years ago that I’d be eating kale in an unroasted form? Hilarity would ensue. Giggles for days.

Even one year ago it would have been a stretch. Totally reaching.

Today, I’m eating kale in soup. Seriously. I want to shout in people’s faces on the street, HEY YOU! I’M EATING KALE! IN SOUP!

I know you probably already find me quite obnoxious but I’m not that obnoxious. Maybe only half that obnoxious. I don’t have the guts to do it. Yet.

I’m also sort of eating kale in salad, at times. It’s still one of those issues where I can choke down about half of the salad before wanting to pitch a fit, but we will discuss more about that shortly. I’m pretty sure that the number of kale salads you eat per week plus the stairs you climb equals things like mac and cheese, bacon breakfast sandwiches, ice cream sundaes and cheesecake. Math is so EASY.

Some of you maybe be doubly shocked by this soup considered I’ve also complained about my feelings on sausage in previous years. It’s not my meat of choice, but as long as the fennel seeds are absent, I’m game every once and a while. That’s why I went with turkey sausage here instead of pork, because my grocery store’s version goes low on the fennel. This original recipe actually calls for additional fennel seeds to be added with the onion, so if you’re down with that, go ahead and add them. I will then promptly reevaluate our friendship. But it’s okay.


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Spicy Sausage, Kale and Whole Wheat Orecchiette Soup

Yield: serves 4

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 pound spicy italian turkey sausage
1 cup whole wheat orecchiette pasta
4 cups fresh kale, remove from stems and torn into pieces
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling

Directions:

Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and stir. Cook until onions soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, then add the chicken stock, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil.

While the stock is heating up, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from the casing (if it's in casing) and add it to the skillet with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the sausage is browned, about 6 to 8 minutes, breaking it into smaller pieces (or whatever size you desire) with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat.

When the stock is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, just until it's al dente. Add the kale and stir well, cooking for 2 more minutes. Stir in the cheese, then taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired. You can add all of the sausage into the soup or serve the soup into bowls and add the sausage on top per serving. Serve with extra cheese for grating. Make sure to turn the heat off underneath the soup to prevent the noodles from getting super soggy.

[barely adapted from the june 2013 issue of donna hay magazine]

That’s pretty green.