On rainy Sunday mornings I love to peruse my cookbook collection while sipping my coffee and search for inspiration before I venture off to the grocery store for the week. My sister in law gifted me the Milk Street Cookbook a few years ago and I turn to it often, its got beautiful photographs and SO many great recipes. Sardinian Herb Soup is the perfect transitional soup for this almost fall but not quite, the parsley and arugula keep it bright and lively.
I’m sure the original recipe from Milk Street is lovely but I added chicken sausage for extra protein, onions and celery for flavor, and red pepper flakes. I also subbed Pecorino Romano for the suggested Ricotta Salata cheese. I think Pecorino carries a bit more punch. I also omitted the suggested Tarragon because I can’t stand it. Please add a bit of Tarragon if you love it. The Milk Street recipe calls for Fregola which are little pastas similar in shape to Israeli couscous. Any small pasta shape would work well here but I omitted it because I didn’t think it was necessary. If you are trying to add bulk adding pasta or small diced potatoes would be great.
What you need:
2-3 tbsp olive oil
3-4 oz diced pancetta
1/2 lb Italian sausage, bulk or casings removed (turkey or chicken sausage suggested since the pancetta carries enough fat)
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small stalk of celery with leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch of Italian parsley, stems mostly separated from the leaves (but keep the stems)
1/2 cup of dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
2 15.5 oz cans of white beans such as cannellini beans
3 medium garlic cloves sliced thinly
1/2 cup of crumbled Pecorino Romano plus a bit more for serving
6 cups of lightly packed arugula, roughly chopped
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Begin by putting the sausage and pancetta in a soup pot with the olive oil and sautéing over medium heat. When the sausage is starting to brown add the onions and celery and a pinch of salt and pepper. The onions should become fragrant and start to soften, stir around scraping up brown bits from the pancetta and sausage. After about 5-10 minutes the sausage should be cooked through so add the wine to deglaze the pan. Dice the reserved parsley stems and add them to the pot with another pinch of salt and pepper. Now add the garlic. When the garlic starts to smell really fragrant (a minute or two) add the chicken broth and bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.
Give the parsley leaves and arugula a rough chop. Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the pot. Taste the broth and see if you need to add another pinch of salt and pepper. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Add the arugula, parsley, and Pecorino. Turn off the heat and let the herbs gently wilt. Season with red pepper flakes, and a bit more pecorino if it needs more flavor. Serve with crumbled Pecorino, red pepper flakes, and another drizzle of olive oil if desired. Enjoy!