My requirements for dinner tonight were as follows: red wine and soup. Many soups are immediately out of the running with the red wine requirement. I hit the internet looking for a rustic Italian soup and found this recipe. It was exactly what I was looking for in that it was different, and would pair well with zinfandel. I found the recipe on the Foodnetwork by Giada De Laurentiis.
Some notes about the recipe that I did a little differently. I couldn’t find turkey sausage (bummer) so I used regular Italian sausage that wasn’t in casings. I added red chili flakes to make up for it not being spicy. I used more garlic than it called for and I used imported tomato paste in a tube. This in itself had more depth and flavor than the traditional small cans I grew up with and have always used. I’m a convert to the imported tomato paste in a tube. Last note, I’ve never made a recipe that had two cups of wine in it however, it won’t be the last as it created a lot of incredible flavor with the other ingredients.
A crusty loaf of bread and the zin made for a terrific, “I’m so full but want a little more” dinner. I loved the fennel in it. Delicious and easy to make. This came together pretty quickly so it would make for an easy week night dinner also.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
2 cups white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the fennel, garlic, shallots, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add the sausage and break into 1/2-inch pieces with a wooden spoon.
- Cook until brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add wine and scrape the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Stir in the tomato paste, chicken broth, and bay leaf.
- Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and add the shrimp, beans, basil, and thyme.
- Simmer, uncovered, until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf and discard.
- Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Ladle the cioppino into soup bowls and serve with crusty bread.