Italian sausage and orzo soup

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This recipe for Italian sausage and orzo soup is easy to make, full of spicy seasonings, and very cozy and delicious.

Here in Spain, there is a saying that says: "In April it rains a lot" (in April, a thousand showers), which has undoubtedly been true this year. It has been raining almost every day last month! And after weeks of non-stop drizzle, I must say we are definitely ready for sunny days to come back so we can open our windows and enjoy the warm spring weather again. But in the meantime, we've been trying to make the best of things by absorbing the latest indoor hygienic vibes of the season, curling up under fuzzy blankets, drinking lots of hot tea, baking lots of bread and cookies. And, as I always love to do when it rains, make a lot, a lot of soup. ♡

This Italian sausage and orzo soup was one of my favorite recipes that came up this month when I was trying to clean up some leftovers in the fridge. I had every intention of making minestrone, but then we ran out of beans and wanted to use some Italian sausage in the fridge, and it turned into this kind of Italian sausage and orzo soup situation. But my word was delicious. In fact, I ended up loving this soup so much that I made a second batch last week so I could bring something to our neighbors and take some pictures to share with all of you today.

The recipe is as simple as it sounds: tasty crumbled Italian sausage, hearty orzo pasta (or whatever form of pasta you have on hand), your choice of greens and greens, all simmering in a cozy tomato and herb broth. And together, everything is so welcoming, comforting and satisfying. I like to make mine hotter with an extra pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and hot Italian sausage, but I've included the following options so you can make yours as hot and spicy or as soft and smooth as you like. Feel free to also make yours gluten-free (just use GF pasta) or vegan (use vegan sausage) if you prefer. And if you have extra veggies, greens, or beans in your kitchen, feel free to throw them out, too. This base recipe is incredibly flexible and accepts exchanges and add-ons, making it a great way to use those leftovers.

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In a nutshell, it's one of those simple yet satisfying cozy soup recipes that always hits the spot. So gather sausages and whatever pasta is hanging in your pantry, and let's make some soup!

Ingredients of the Italian Sausage, Orzo and Spinach Soup:

To make this Italian soup recipe, you will need the following ingredients (amounts listed in the full recipe below):

  • Italian sausage: Soft, spicy Italian sausage or whatever type of ground Italian sausage you like best.
  • Vegetables: The classic mirepoix combo of carrots, onion and celery.
  • Garlic: I love adding a lot of garlic to this soup, but you can cut the amount in half if you prefer less.
  • Chopped tomatoes: I recommend using a can of fire roasted tomatoes if you have one, but any type of diced tomato will work.
  • Chicken soup: Or you can also use chicken broth or vegetable broth.
  • Dry seasonings: A mix of Italian seasonings, crushed red pepper flakes, sea salt and black pepper.
  • Orzo Or whatever type of small pasta shape you like best.
  • Fresh spinach: Or fresh kale, or you could use frozen vegetables (thawed and drained) instead.
  • Ingredients: I recommend a generous pinch of Parmesan cheese, plus chopped fresh basil or parsley if you have something on hand.

How to make this soup:

To make this Italian soup recipe, simply …

  1. Brown the sausage: Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground sausage and sauté until golden brown and cook, stirring and crumbling with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked meat to a clean plate and set it aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of fat in the pot. (If there is more fat in the pot, discard it. If there is no fat left, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot.)
  2. Sauté the vegetables. Add onion, carrots, and celery and stir to combine. Sauté for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are smooth and translucent. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Simmer the broth. Add diced tomatoes, broth, and Italian seasoning and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the broth reaches a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low to keep the simmer.
  4. Cook the pasta. Add the orzo until combined. Then continue to cook the soup over low heat, stirring occasionally so that the orzo does not stick to the bottom of the pot, until the orzo is al dente.
  5. Add the spinach and season. Add spinach to soup. Test and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
  6. To serve. Serve immediately, garnished with your favorite ingredients.

Possible variations:

This Italian sausage, orzo and spinach soup recipe is incredibly flexible with respect to variations. So feel free to experiment with any ingredient swapping or additions that sound good. For example, feel free to …

  • Make it spicy: I recommend using good quality spicy Italian sausage, if you want your soup to have some heat. Or you can also double the amount of crushed red pepper flakes used here. (Or if you prefer a softer soup, you can halve or completely omit the amount of ground red pepper flakes.)
  • Add additional vegetables: Feel free to add any other soft and soup-friendly veggies on hand, such as bell peppers, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, or peas.
  • Add beans: Feel free to add a can of your favorite beans (rinsed and drained) to get some extra protein.
  • Use a different protein: Crumbled or diced chicken, ground beef, chicken sausage, or vegan sausage.
  • Use a different form of pasta: Any type of pasta will really work here, but I would recommend some type of smaller pasta if you don't have an orzo.
  • Use different greens: Kale or kale would also be delicious instead of tender spinach.
  • Use quinoa: If you want to lighten the soup a bit and make it gluten-free, you can also substitute the orzo for quinoa (rinsed and drained).

More favorite soup recipes:

Looking for healthier soup recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

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Description

This recipe for Italian sausage and orzo soup is easy to make, full of spicy seasonings, and very cozy and delicious.


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Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground Italian sausage (soft or spicy)
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups chicken broth (or meat or vegetable broth)
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup raw orzo pasta
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach or kale
  • Optional toppings: freshly grated Parmesan, chopped fresh basil and / or parsley

Instructions

  1. Brown the sausage: Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground sausage and sauté until golden brown and cook, stirring and crumbling with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked meat to a clean plate and set it aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of fat in the pot. (If there is more fat in the pot, discard it. If there is no fat left, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot.)
  2. Sauté the vegetables. Add onion, carrots, and celery and stir to combine. Sauté for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are smooth and translucent. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Simmer the broth. Add diced tomatoes, broth, and Italian seasoning and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the broth reaches a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low to keep the simmer.
  4. Cook the pasta. Add the orzo until combined. Cover the pot with a lid and continue to cook the soup over low heat, stirring occasionally so that the orzo does not stick to the bottom of the pot, until the orzo is al dente.
  5. Add the spinach and season. Add spinach to soup. Test and season with salt and black pepper, as needed. (If you want, you can also add an additional Italian seasoning.)
  6. To serve. Serve immediately, garnished with your favorite ingredients.

Notes

A note about the orzo: The longer this soup stays, the more broth the orzo will absorb. If you want to add additional broth later, I recommend adding 1 cup of additional chicken broth along with an additional 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning (more salt and black pepper, to taste).

Italian Orzo Sausage Soup

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