Cheesy Chicken Sausage and Pesto Soup
It’s March in Virginia which means the weather is completely erratic and unpredictable! It was a beautiful 70 degrees and sunny yesterday and today its 45 and pouring rain. It’s so damp and yucky, definitely soup weather. Despite it being gross outside, I am still desiring fresh spring flavors and am ready for the new season of foods. Pesto and peas always remind me of springtime and I had some leftover mozzarella that I needed to use up, hence this soup was born.
What you need;
1 lb Italian chicken or turkey sausage
1 small yellow onion
1 clove of garlic, sliced thinly
5 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup of frozen peas
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
2 tbsp good quality pesto
1 Parmesan rind
1 cup precooked rice (or small pasta- orzo or ditalini would be nice)
fresh sliced mozzarella
Place a large soup pot on medium heat and drizzle a few tbsp of olive oil in the pot. Add in your onion and sprinkle some salt and pepper and begin to sweat. When the onions become translucent add your sausage (diced or crumbled). If you are using uncooked sausage, cook it through browning on all sides. If the sausage is precooked, stir around with the sausage for about 5-6 minutes or until it starts to smell very flavorful and is browning on the edges. Now add the sliced garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring and releasing the aroma (careful not to burn). Sprinkle another touch of salt and pepper and then add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and the Parmesan rind. Put on a lid and simmer on low for at least 30 minutes or longer if you have it. Stir occasionally. The longer it cooks the more the flavorful it will be.
When you are satisfied with the cooking time, add the peas, spinach, and rice. Cook for another 10-15 minutes while you prepare your cheesy baguette slices. Remove the Parmesan rind if you desire, I just try to carefully avoid it when serving.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place a slice of baguette on the tray. Drizzle a bit of pesto and then a large slice or two of mozzarella. Place in a preheated oven at 450 until the cheese has melted and lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Fill your soup bowl and then carefully transfer the cheesy baguette on top with a spatula. Add more red pepper flakes or another small drizzle of pesto to the soup bowl when serving. Enjoy!