Tuscan Soup – Slow & Fast!

Happy New Year everyone!!  I’m working on a full meal plan to post in time for next week…but in the mean time – I thought I would share with you two of my favorite recipes for a similar style of soup…

Crazy evenings & what to do about dinner…!!?!!  I’m sure we’re all in the same boat….some days I haven’t even considered what I’m making for dinner until an hour before I slide into the store for ingredients and throw something together… and other nights I actually know that my family is going to be racing in four different directions, so the only solution is to have something simmering and ready to serve in the slow cooker.  You hear me, right?

TuscanSausageBeanSoupFinished

Ok, so option number one is an absolutely tried and true recipe first shared with me by my friend Kathleen O’Connor of Treat Cakes and Confections…  She was hosting our mother’s club annual recipe exchange and this was by far the star of the evening!  I have made it and shared it multiple times to all stunning results.  It’s so simple, but it’s exactly how you want a “Tuscan Sausage & Bean Soup” to taste.  It makes my mouth water just thinking about each delicious spoonful.  What’s great about this recipe is that it takes 30 mins from the second your knife hits the cutting board to the dusting of grated cheese at the finish before your spoon hits the bowl.  Kids love it too, which is a huge bonus (my super picky older one eats hers “deconstructed” but hey – she eats it gladly).

The only issue with this option is that because of the macaroni in it, it’s not slow cooker friendly.  It requires your attention for the 1/2 hour before everyone eats…which unfortunately doesn’t always fly in my house.  SOOoooo….I read a zillion “Sausage & Bean Slow Cooker” recipes and used some tweaks from those recipes to hack the original into a Slow Cooker version.  We had it last night & everyone looooved it.  Admittedly, the original is preferred… However, with a VERY generous “dusting” (ok it was a mound) of parmesan cheese….it was definitely a tie-ing contender ;-))  The cheese compensates for the typical lack of “umami” in slow cooker dishes.  That’s always the potential fail of a slow cooker dish is that it ends up tasting like the ghost of recipes cooked before – ha!

Tuscan Bean and Sausage Soup

Admittedly I was really craving a hearty bottle of Super Tuscan wine when I decided to make this soup this week…. SO I just may have tweaked the recipe to pair with the typical flavors of a Sangiovese heavy Super Tuscan blend…. Hence the added rosemary… 😉 Hee hee!

I hope you enjoy these delicious and warming soups – whichever way works best for you!!  Enjoy!!

The super fast 30 min soup – Tuscan Pasta, Sausage & Bean Soup
The slow cooker soup – Tuscan White Bean, Kale & Sausage Slow Cooker Soup

The wine pairing advice is a bit different for each soup… For the Slow Cooker Tuscan Bean & Kale soup, an Italian Super Tuscan would be amazing with this hearty vegetable laden and rich meat filled soup with it’s stewed beans and the slightly bitter kale.  Try to find one that has some Sangiovese in the mix as that is always a nice pair with the rosemary & parmesan as well.  

For the 30 minute Tuscan Pasta soup, an Italian Super Tuscan or any other big Red Blend would be fantastic with the juicy sausage and tomatoes in this delicious tummy warming soup.  The sharpness of the grated cheese also calls for the balance of a full bodied red wine.

Cheers!
~ S.O.

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