Hearty Italian Stew

by Heather on November 15, 2011

The real name for this original dish is actually “Long Island Minestrone” but, well, I just couldn’t leave good enough alone.

And you may be asking me, “Why Long Island?”

 

Wanna know the answer?

 

I don’t know.  That’s helpful, right?

See what happened was my parents, many moons ago, found some pretty stellar recipes in old magazines that my Mimi used to get and then made them once or twice a month as dinners.  This was one of those dinners.  Served with cornbread and maybe a sliced apple on the side, my sister and I were getting a really healthy meal and it tasted OH SO bad for us.  I blame the sausage…we all know that pork, even in small amounts, makes things special!

 

Now believe you me, if I could find the magazine or recipe that this originally came from I would definitely be giving credit where credit is due.  It’s a great hearty soup that is perfect for winter months and the flavor is addictive.  However, my mom changed the recipe around a little and today I’m changing it a little bit more to add some extra protein, whole grains and fiber.

This takes me back to days after piano lessons (fun fact:  I took piano for 12 years!) when the West Texas wind was blowing like crazy and cut through your bones.  My sister and I would run out to the car after the lessons and our dad would have the heater blasting.  We’d be on our way home, talking about our day and probably fighting a little bit (me and my sister that is).  We would pull into the garage, run inside with our things and sit down at the table with big heaping bowlfuls of this soup and share the things we were doing that week.  You know, I always hated how our parents would make us talk about school and what was going on…but looking back on it I know that I secretly loved it.  I knew that they cared, that they wanted to know how life was going.  We’d get seconds if we were still hungry and Salah and I would help clean off the table.  We’d both sneak extra bits of sausage before my mom put the soup in the fridge and subsequently get a stern talking to about eating all of the meat.

 

Yep, those were the days :)

HEARTY ITALIAN STEW

  • 1 lb mild or hot Italian pork sausage (you can also use turkey if you’d prefer)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaping cup of carrots, shredded or diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 very small head of cabbage, core removed and shredded (about 4 cups shredded)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (mine had garlic and rosemary in them)
  • 24 oz vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups prepared quinoa (I just followed the instructions on the package to make mine)

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Remove the sausage from the casings (if you buy it in bulk that’s even easier) and crumble and brown it up.  Add in the onion and carrots and stir to combine.  Cover and let cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.  Add the cabbage and zucchini, cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Stir everything to combine, then add the tomatoes, the stock, chickpeas, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for about 20-30 minutes.  Meanwhile prepare the quinoa (I like to make it separate so it doesn’t get mushy in leftovers).  To serve add quinoa to the bottom of a big bowl and ladle the soup on top.  Stir to combine.  Devour.

I know I’ve said it a million times, but I love how recipes can bring back some of the best memories – even of the day to day things – in life.  And this?  This is one of those for me!

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