My grandmother descended from a long line of Connecticut Yankees and married the son of Italian immigrants. The Italian food she cooked was amazing. I remember this one soup she made with tomatoes and thyme, which I liked to eat with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. I don’t think she put sausage or tortellini in it, but I wanted to use up my tortellini from last week, and sausage seems to be the classic accompaniment in this kind of soup. I used the rind from an old piece of parmigiano reggiano I had been keeping in the freezer. If you don’t have one, that’s completely fine, but the next time you buy parmesan cheese, remember to chop off the rind and keep it in a zip top bag in the freezer. It’ll keep for at least a year.
Tortellini Soup With Sausage Meatballs
1/2 pound (220g) Italian sausage (remove casings)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion
pinch kosher salt
1 clove garlic
4 fresh tomatoes, skin removed, and chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 14 ounce (400g) can diced tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1 rind parmigiano reggiano (if you have one)
8 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
10 ounce (285g) package cheese tortellini
1 cup (25 grams) baby arugula
1/4 cup (10g) chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 (40g) cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
1. Shape sausage into 1 teaspoon sized balls. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, brown meatballs on all sides. Add olive oil and onion to the pan, along with a pinch of salt, and cook until onion is tender and translucent, about ten minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in thyme, fresh tomatoes, and garlic, and cook for one minute more. Transfer mixture into a large stockpot.
2. Add in can of tomatoes, beef stock, water, cheese rind, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil.
3. Add in tortellini and simmer for 2-5 minutes, until tortellini is cooked. Toss in arugula, and 1/3 cup (25g) grated parmesan cheese. Remove cheese rind. Season with remainder of salt, and pepper.
4. Garnish each bowl with parmesan cheese.