Friday, February 21, 2014

Italian Winter Soup

I don't get much alone time.

I started to really think about it over the last few weeks. I'm alone for about 25 minutes a day. That's not much is it?

From the time my youngest heads out the door for the bus stop until I head out to work it's about 25 minutes. What am I doing during those 25 minutes? I'm gathering up the laundry, I'm putting the last of the breakfast dishes aways, I'm straightening up the house, I'm wiping down everything in the bathroom (boys are gross), I'm packing my lunch, I'm gettin' stuff done. I'm up and I'm on the go until 7pm each night. That's when I finally get to unwind.

Usually John and I will watch something we taped. We rarely watch anything in real time cause if it's on past 9:00pm we are usually snoozing. I'll work on the blog a bit, look through some magazines,  surf the net or I will read. Oh how I love to read. Me, my blankie, a cuppa tea and a good book. I'm set.

Right now I'm reading "Tell the Wolves I'm Home". I can't get enough of this book. I force myself to put it down at cause I know if I don't I'll stay up too late.

I think of all the things that I don't have enough time for in my life, not reading all that I want to bothers me the most. I'm a carnivorous reader. I'm a fast reader. I dive straight in. I think about the characters for days. I weep with them, I laugh with them, I'm so into their lives. It's pure joy for me and I just wish I could find the time to read more.

Time has me struggling with posting during the winter months too. I've said it before...taking photos in New England during the winter months is a difficult task. I'm limited to the weekend and all the working moms out there will tell you, the weekend is when most of us get stuff done. *sigh*. So I just muddle along and do the best that I can and try and savor all good in each day, even if it's never long enough.

I wanted to share this soup with you. My friend Sara pointed it in my direction and I knew I wanted to make it the minute I read it. I love long slow soups. The kind that simmer for hours and fill the house with great smells.

Now when I'm making soup, I don't usually cook the pasta or rice in the soup so I was hesitant to cook the arborio rice in the this, but trust me, it works.

I added escarole for a touch of green. You can add any greens you like. I also used half and half instead of the heavy cream that was originally called for in this recipe.

This recipe is by the DiGregorio family of St. Louis. This hearty soup is actually more like a loose risotto. Choose spicy, sweet, or a combination of Italian sausages. If you are craving veggies, stir in a handful of greens; the heat of the dish will wilt them. I used escarole.

Italian Winter Soup
adapted from "The DiGregorio Family Cookbook: A Taste of the Hill From St. Louis"
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound of Italian sausage (sweet or hot, your choice. I used a garlic & cheese sausage)
1 medium onion , chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
12 cups chicken stock
2 cups arborio rice
¼ cup parsley
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 head of escarole - optional
Salt and pepper to taste.

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Remove the sausage from the casing and cook until no longer pink. Transfer to paper towel to drain off any grease. Add the onion and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes) then and garlic to the pot. Cook for 1 minute longer.

Add the sausage and the chicken stock to the pot along with the oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the soup for 30-45 minutes.

Add the rice, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender but still has some bite.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the half and half, taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

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