Fall Harvest Sausage Soup featuring Herbes de Provence
1 butternut squash: seeds removed, peeled and cubed
1 lb of your favorite Italian sausage
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced fine
1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence Seasoning
32 oz box of chicken stock (reduced salt if possible)
6-8 oz greens such as chard or kale
8 large cherry tomatoes, halved (or other garden tomatoes)
8 oz small pasta like orzo or salad macaroni
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Place butternut squash cubes in a saucepan, cover with water, and add a pinch of salt. Heat over medium-high heat to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer until squash is fork-soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside until it's time to add these to the soup.
While the squash is cooking, cook the Italian sausage on medium-high heat in a stock or soup pot. Cook until no longer pink, breaking up large chunks as you brown the meat. When the meat is brown, add the onion and celery. Cook these, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to release their liquid (sweat.) Add the garlic and Herbes de Provence Seasoning and cook, stirring, for another minute or so, until the spices and garlic release their aroma. Add the chicken stock plus about 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let the soup simmer until you can test a celery piece and find it no longer crunchy. Add the greens and tomatoes, and the pasta, and stir well. Let simmer until the pasta is done. Test seasonings and adjust by adding salt and pepper to taste. (Also consider adding a bit of HEAT, if you like it that way, by adding a bit of cayenne pepper!)
Serve with warm crusty bread and a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of fresh-grated parmesan cheese...
(Cook's note: you can use many other types of veggies in this soup! Substitute sweet potatoes or carrots for the butternut squash if you like. Add some of the last late-season zucchini? Maybe a handful of chopped green peppers? As a "harvest" soup, add in the fruits of YOUR harvest, using this recipe as a guide.)