Italian Sausage Soup/Pasta Morph
This versatile recipe adapts itself to either a hearty soup or an elegant pasta course with very little trouble.
Remove the casing from the Italian sausage. Place the sausage in a large soup pot and heat over medium, stirring frequently, until browned. This should take five to seven minutes. Drain on paper towels to remove fat.
Add the onions, fennel, garlic, fennel pollen, and mix well. Cover and cook, stirring from time to time, until the onions and the fennel begin to wilt and soften, about 15 minutes. Remove 1/2 of the mixture and reserve it for the "Pasta Part."
- Add the chicken broth and the canned tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes apart with a spoon. Bring to a boil.
- Add the small pasta and bring back to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for about eight minutes, or until the pasta is just about cooked.
- Add the cannellini beans and the parsley. Continue cooking until it develops a rich flavor, and the pasta is cooked through. Adjust for salt and pepper.
- Toss the pasta and the reserved Italian sausage mixture in a large bowl.
- Using just a small amount at a time, add the heated pasta water, stirring constantly, until a good sauce-like consistency is obtained.
- Season with salt and pepper and top with breadcrumbs and cheese.