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Italian sausage-butternut squash soup with tortellini

Have just an hour to make dinner? This light, complete entrée soup will fit right in. While it bubbles away, set the table, pour the wine, or read the paper. To save time, chop the onion, garlic, celery, and fennel in the food processor while the meat browns. Keep the soup brothy, adding more broth or water as needed while simmering, and don’t overcook the vegetables or the tortellini or you’ll have a gloppy mess. You can use all pork Italian sausage for this soup, too, but do pour off some of the fat after browning the meat. I think the combination of turkey and Italian sausage keeps the soup light and fresh. Freeze the remaining meat for a pot of chili next week to make the soup again in a few weeks.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½- pound each: ground lean turkey and bulk Italian Sausage OR 1# Turkey Italian Sausage
  • Medium onion diced
  • 2 stalks of celery diced
  • 1 small fennel bulb trimmed, cored, and diced (can sub 1 cup chopped cabbage)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Handful minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon each: dry thyme and rosemary or double the amount if using fresh
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dry rubbed sage or a tablespoon of minced fresh sage leaves
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups 32 ounces low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 cups water or more if needed to keep soup bubbling and brothy
  • 2-3 drops hot sauce such as Tabasco
  • 2 ½ cups diced butternut squash 12 ounces
  • 2 medium carrots trimmed, peeled, and sliced into ¼-inch coins
  • 8 ounces fresh cheese tortellini
  • GARNISH: ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano 2 ounces
  • GARNISH: ¼ cup minced fresh chives


  • In an 8-quart soup pot, heated for two minutes over medium flame, add the olive oil and let heat for another minute. Crumble in the meat; cook about 5 minutes, stirring, OR until about half-cooked. Tip in the onion, celery, fennel, and garlic. Season with the salt and pepper, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and sage; stir well. Cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables are tender and there’s no pink remaining in the meats.
  • Pour in the white wine and let simmer until half the wine has evaporated. Stir in the broth, water, and hot sauce; bring to a boil. Add the squash and carrots, reduce heat to a low boil and cook 13-15 minutes or until the squash and carrots are nearly tender. If the soup becomes too thick, add a little more broth or water.
  • Stir in the fresh tortellini, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook about 5 minutes—or according to package directions. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot garnished with cheese and chives. Store quickly cooled leftovers in containers with tightly-fitted lids for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Not well-suited for freezer storage.


Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2019. All rights reserved.