The original recipe I made used bread bowls, but the last time I made it was in my mom's tiny hometown so I made cheese toast to go on the side instead.
You will need: mild Italian sausage, pepperoni, red pepper flakes (not pictured), mushrooms, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, bread (either one large loaf or several bread bowls), mozzarella (normally I grate fresh, but again I had limited resources), BUTTER, tomato juice, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, and heavy cream
Remove the casings from the sausage, if necessary, and then add the sausage to a large pot
Next throw in the mini pepperonis and red pepper flakes. I know the pepperoni are already cooked, but this will help get some of the fat out of them and not make our soup too greasy.
Now crumble and stir the sausage until fully cooked.
While the sausage is cooking, chop up your bell pepper,
until it looks like this:
Slice your mushrooms.
Chop your onion and mince your garlic (or press it through a garlic press if that's the way you roll).
Once the meat is cooked through, pour onto a paper towel lined plate to soak up the grease and set aside.
Now melt the butter in the same pot
Mmm... Sausage bits.
Add the mushrooms to the pot, season, stir them around, and this is important: LEAVE THEM ALONE. This will cause them to brown and really get some flavor going.
Once the mushrooms are brown, add the pepper, garlic, and onion
Stir 'em round and cook until onions are translucent and peppers are tender.
Scrape all those yummy sausage bits off the bottom of the pan and allow the wine to reduce by half.
Now add the chicken stock....
And the tomato juice...
And finally the Italian seasoning
Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. While this is simmering, slice your bread and place on a cookie sheet.
And add some mozzarella to each slice
Bake until cheese is nice and melty.
(One of my cousins is insane and doesn't care for cheese so those naked slices are for him)
At about the same time, the soup should be happy and all the ingredients should be best friends so it's time to add the heavy cream.
Stir it up,
And lunch is served!
Serve with cheesy toast on the side.
This recipe was tested on my adorable cousin who happens to be a very picky eater. And guess what? He loves it!
Note: The version below gives the steps if you want to go the bread bowl route.
1 pkg mild Italian sausage
1 pkg pepperoni links
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbs butter
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 large onion, diced
16 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup red wine
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbs fresh basil (if using dried basil, use ½ Tbs)
1 cup heavy cream
5 medium bread loafs, hollowed out like bowls
3 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic smashed
8 oz fresh mozzarella, shredded
1.) Brown Italian sausage in large Dutch oven or heavy pot. When almost cooked, add chopped pepperoni and red pepper flakes (to get out the grease). Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain.
2.) Add butter to pan. When melted, add in the mushrooms and brown. Season. After mushrooms are almost done, add onion, pepper, and garlic. Once veggies are translucent, add wine and deglaze the pan.
3.) After moisture has reduced by half, add the meat back to the pot with tomato sauce, chicken broth, basil, and Italian seasoning. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring and tasting occasionally.
4.) While soup is simmering, heat oven to 400 F. In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil over low heat and add the smashed garlic cloves. When heated through and garlic smelling, brush the oil on the inside and out side of the bread loaves. Place in oven for 10 minutes, covering the tops with foil after 5(this will prevent over browning later).
5.) Turn on the broiler. Add heavy cream to soup, stir and adjust seasonings. Ladle soup into bread bowls and cover with mozzarella (don’t be shy here). Place bread back into oven until cheese is melted and a little brown. Enjoy!