Thank you SO very much, dear readers, for your suggestions. I will MOST happily take more suggestions as long as you want to give them.
The overwhelming response was for soup recipes. I was delighted, since it gives me more opportunity to make something I already love.
This recipe is a fun way to update chicken noodle soup. It’s not the most traditional thing ever, but it was delicious. I was inspired by a recipe I saw Tyler Florence make once that used sausage to make little meatballs for the soup. It was SUCH a great idea.
I loved the texture and flavor of the meatballs. Chicken apple sausage has a sort of sweetness to it that paired REALLY well with a little bit of thyme and made me feel snuggly and fall-ish. The orrichette made a fun change from normal egg noodles, and it was really a perfect combination.
As an added bonus, meatballs magically make soup a uni-gender food for those of us who cook for manly male types who sometimes scoff at soup as “girl food.”
As always, soup gets better the second day. The flavors meld together, and (especially when you use any type of sausage) the broth intensifies in flavor. You can absolutely make it ahead of time, and it froze remarkably well with only a slight texture change in the pasta.
8oz orrichette pasta (or other small shape, such as shells)
2 carrots, sliced
2–3 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
pinch dry thyme
2 1/2–3 quarts chicken broth
1/4c minced fresh parsley, plus more to garnish
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a medium pan, cook the onion in a drizzle of olive oil on medium-low heat until caramelized, stirring often. Combine sausage, parsley, cheese, egg, salt, pepper, and thyme.
Meanwhile, in a soup pot, saute carrots, celery, and onion in a drizzle of olive oil about 5 minutes or till somewhat tender. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme and cook 1 minute longer. Add 2 1/2 quarts chicken broth and parsley and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
Remove onions from heat and stir into the sausage mixture. In the same pan you used to saute the onions, add a drizzle of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Scoop meatballs out of the sausage mixture with a tablespoon or small cookie scoop into the oil, cooking half of the meatballs at a time. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do them in three batches instead of two).
Brown the meatballs and add them to the simmering soup, where they will finish cooking. Simmer 4-5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through. Stir in the cooked pasta. Add more broth, salt, or pepper as necessary.
*If you’re going to freeze the soup, make it without the pasta. When you thaw the soup, cook up the pasta to stir in.