In the fall and winter when I ask my family for ideas for dinner I usually get back, how about soup? Nothing is as cozy as a steaming bowl of soup at the table on a cold winter night but I don’t always have time. Soup in my opinion takes a little effort. When all the ingredients are sautéed before liquid is added and when it has time to slowly simmer, I find that brings out the best flavor.
I used to make a lot of soup in the crock pot but I would often get this strange metallic taste. Sometimes the taste wasn’t there if the onions, veggies and garlic were cooked well before being added to the liquid but who has time for that when you’ve just thought of throwing something together before going off to work in the morning?
And at night when I’m trying to navigate homework, baths, babies crawling under my feet and trying to get into the cat food dish, I don’t have time to deal with fry pans and simmering something for an hour.
So my Instant Pot has been so wonderful for this busy working mom. Only one pot to clean and while I still add each ingredient to the sauté feature it only cooks for about 30 minutes. But it tastes like it’s been simmering for hours.
This is my husband’s favorite. It’s like Italian wedding soup without pasta and the variations are endless. As long as you have a base of mild (or hot if you live on the edge) Italian sausage, white beans, rosemary, onions and garlic with tomato and greens, you can add from there. I like peppers and mushrooms. Sometimes kale sometimes spinach. Red wine or maybe a splash of really good balsamic vinegar. It tastes different each time I make it.
I’m not a big recipe follower and I hope if you make this and if you like it, you’ll do it again a different way, adding what you think might taste good. That’s the fun of cooking.
Of course if you don’t have an instant pot this can be made on the stove or the crock pot. You’ll still sauté everything but simmer on the stove for about one hour. In the crock pot it can cook for 4-6 hours on low. I don’t recommend cooking it on high as rapid boiling will break down the beans and greens too much.
Harvest Italian Soup
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage (I like the sweet variety)
- 4-5 cups of chicken broth
- 1 -14 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups shredded kale or spinach
- 1- 14 ounce can white beans, drained
- 3-4 drops hot sauce (optional)
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Pre-heat Instant Pot on the Sauté setting. When it says Hot, add olive oil and diced onion, with a light dusting of salt. Sauté until starting to sweat or becoming translucent. Add celery and green pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes. At this point you can walk away to pretend like you know enough about math to help your daughter with her homework.
Add mushrooms and sauté until they start to lose a little water. Add garlic and rosemary and stir just until you can smell the garlic. Don’t let it get any color. Don’t leave the area.
Add sausage to the vegetables and another light dusting of salt and brown the meat. When nicely browned, pour in the red wine and deglaze pan. Be sure to scrape any of the browned meat off the bottom of the Instant Pot so it doesn’t burn during cooking. This can take about a minute.
Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, white beans, kale and a generous amount of pepper. Add more chicken broth if the soup needs to be thinned out. Stir well. Set Instant Pot to high pressure and set timer for 25 minutes. You can now give the baby a bath and wrangle him into his PJ’s. When done, let the steam out and stir in hot sauce (optional).
Season soup to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese and serve. Can serve with crusty bread. Also great the next day.