Sweet Italian Sausage & Orzo Ribollita

This spin on the classic Italian soup features puttanesca sauce, orzo pasta and toasted Pomodoro bread.

¼ cup olive oil, plus additional for drizzling over the bread
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, 1 minced and 1 whole
1 quart Nonna Pat’s puttanesca sauce
3 cups chicken stock
1 3-inch Parmesan cheese rind
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons combined fresh thyme leaves and chopped parsley
1 bunch Lacinato kale, greens removed from ribs and torn into bite-sized pieces
½ cup orzo pasta
4-6 slices pomodoro loaf
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, sausage and minced garlic. Cook, crumbling the sausage into small pieces, until the onion is golden brown and the sausage is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.

2. Add the puttanesca sauce and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the brown bits. Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, herbs and Parmesan rind. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then add the orzo and kale, and simmer an additional 10 minutes or until the orzo is cooked and kale is wilted.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Drizzle the sliced pomodoro bread with olive oil. Toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub the top of the toasts with the whole garlic clove. Place the toasts in the serving bowls and ladle the soup over the toasts. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.

Variation: In leiu of the pomodoro bread, free free to sub in the sourdough dinner rolls crafted from this week’s starter!

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