SPINACH, SAUSAGE AND ORZO SOUP

Austin American-Statesman - - RECIPE -

Orzo is the per­fect pasta for soup. Shaped like grains of rice, it cooks quickly in broth, tak­ing on the fla­vor of the soup. Orzo cooks quicker than other pas­tas, so serve straight­away, oth­er­wise it may be­come mushy. Switch the fresh herbs for a driz­zle of home­made pesto if you fancy, or add a spoon­ful of aioli or salsa verde.

6 plump sausages — look for some­thing with lots of onion or gar­lic 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil 1 onion, diced 1 car­rot, coarsely

chopped 1 stalk of cel­ery, diced 2 cloves of gar­lic,

crushed 1 ta­ble­spoon tomato

paste Gen­er­ous pinch of freshly grated nut­meg

Small pinch of dried

oregano Scant 3 1/2 cups hot chicken or veg­etable broth 1 bay leaf 3 1/2 ounces orzo or other

small pasta 2 1/2 cups spinach, stems re­moved, coarsely chopped 2 ta­ble­spoons light or

heavy cream Salt and freshly ground

black pep­per

To serve: Fresh pars­ley, chopped Fresh basil, chopped Freshly grated

Parme­san

Re­move the sausage cas­ings and shape the meat into lit­tle meat­balls. Place the oil in a heavy pan with a lid over medium to high heat and add the sausage meat­balls. Brown them all over, then lift out and set aside. Turn the

heat down to medium and add the onion, car­rot, cel­ery and a pinch of salt and pep­per; saute for 10 min­utes, un­til soft and be­gin­ning to brown.

Add the gar­lic and tomato paste and cook, stir­ring, for 2 min­utes. Next, add the nut­meg, oregano, broth and bay leaf and bring to a sim­mer. Cook for 10 min­utes.

Add the orzo, spinach and meat­balls and sim­mer for 4 min­utes, or un­til the orzo and meat­balls are cooked. Re­move from the heat, add the cream, and re­move the bay leaf. Taste and add more salt, freshly ground black pep­per or nut­meg, if nec­es­sary.

Serve in wide bowls, with the pars­ley, basil, and freshly grated Parme­san on top. Serves 4.

— From “Leon Happy Soups” by Re­becca Seal and John Vin­cent (Con­ran Oc­to­pus, $19.99)

PHOTOS CON­TRIB­UTED BY STEVEN JOYCE

This sausage, spinach and orzo soup from “Leon Happy Soups” comes to­gether quickly and in a sin­gle pot.

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