Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Family Meal from Tomato Soup

Here is a quick and easy way to turn tomato soup into a filling family dinner.  This recipe can definitely be prepared in under 30 minutes (no offense to Rachel Ray, but some of hers cannot - not by mere mortals like me anyways!) 

I am always surprised at how well WP eats this soup when I make it.  He ate a whole bowlful plus his entire Cheese Crisp last night! I think the trick is using the food processer to get the sausage to a very fine consistency after it cooks.

Tomato Soup with Italian Sausage and Pasta... served with Cheese Crisps

  • 32 oz of tomato soup.  I used Pacific tonight, but I've used other brands and it always turns out well. Just use which one you like - or make your own if you prefer. (Make sure to check the label on store bought - some tomato soup is VERY high in fat.)
  • 1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage links
  • 16 oz Pasta of choice
  • Cheese Crisps (recipe below)

Prepare pasta according to package instructions.  I usually let WP pick the pasta for this one. This time, he picked the little salad macaroni, and they worked well.

While the pasta cooks, heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Remove sausage from casing and add to skillet. Cook until browned, breaking up the sausage as you cook. Once sausage has browned and cooked through, add it to a food processor and pulse until the sausage is at desired consistency (optional.)

Warm soup in a large saucepan or small Dutch oven.  Add sausage and cooked pasta. Serve with Cheese Crisps alongside or crumbled into the soup. 

Now, for the Cheese Crisps. First of all, I have to say that I am so glad these are a real thing. For a long time, they were a happy accident in our house. By accident I mean that any time I 'spilled' cheddar cheese on my griddle, I would let it cook until crispy and then eat it as a snack - like a homemade Cheese-It. Delicious! But I always felt guilty about it... kind of like eating cookie dough with a spoon. For some reason, it feels way worse and way more indulgent than eating a cookie. Eating crispy cheese feels that indulgent.  I would've never confessed to it. Until... I found these little Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps pre-packaged and for sale at HEB.  They are legitimate! I can share the goodness of these without feeling guilty! 

All of that to say, if you can find these prepackaged crisps (in the fancy cheese section), buy them. They are a crisp, salty, and incredibly easy way to balance out the soup. If you can't find them, make your own.  My recipe is below, or you could also check out Alton Brown's oven version here:

My homemade Cheddar Cheese Crisps

Delicious store-bought Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps. These are fairly thick and were probably done in an oven.
Cheese Crisps

Heat a non-stick griddle to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle cheese in a round chip-sized area on the griddle. Don't sprinkle the cheese too thickly. You want the pieces to be touching or overlapping, but not piled on top of each other. You should have little holes in the crisps, and the finished version somewhat resembles a snowflake. Watch them closely - they get done in about a minute!  You will know they are done when the entire crisp is bubbly and lightly browned. Use a thin spatula to remove and allow to cool on a paper towel.  I used Cheddar cheese this time. Freshly grated parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano would also be great.

Print recipes here

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