- 1 pound bulk sweet or hot Italian sausage or any link sausage, squeezed out of its casing
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup sliced or diced carrots
- 4 cups chicken broth (make your own, page 256)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, chopped
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 to 1 1⁄4 cups uncooked mafalda pasta
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- 2 cups thinly sliced ribbons of fresh spinach
- 1 1/2 cups diced provolone or mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- fresh topper: 1/4 cup torn fresh basil
- Grease the interior of the slow cooker crock with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
- If you have time, cook the sausage in a skillet over medium, breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon. Stir in the onions after the sausage is no longer pink.Sauté the onions until soft.Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat and onions to the prepared crock. Discard the drippings. Note: If you don’t have time, you can crumble the uncooked sausage straight into the crock. Stir in the onions, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.
- Add the carrots, chicken broth, chopped stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce, stirring to combine.
- Cover. Cook on Low 4 to 5 hours.
- Stir in the uncooked pasta and garlic.
- Cover and continue cooking on Low 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours or until the pasta is tender but not mushy.
- Stir in the mushrooms. Cover. Cook another 10 minutes on Low.
- Just beforeserving,stir in the sliced spinach. (No need to cook the spinach; the heat from the soup will wilt it.)
- To serve, divide the diced provolone or mozzarella cheese evenly into bowls and ladle the soup over the top.
- Top with the Parmesan cheese and torn fresh basil.
TIP: For spinach ribbons, stack fresh spinach leaves about 1 inch high. Roll them up and slice into 1/8 – to 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.
- Use fusilli or rotini instead of mafalda pasta.
- Use 1 to 2 (8-ounce) cans of mushrooms with liquid instead of fresh mushrooms.
Make It Gluten-Free: Substitute broken soba or rice noodles, or brown rice pasta for the mafalda pasta. Stir it in with the mushrooms in Step 7 and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until the pasta is tender. You can also substitute shirataki noodles, adding them 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Make It for Picky Eaters: Use sweet, not hot, Italian sausage, or substitute plain turkey or pork sausage, or ground beef. Omit or reduce the amount of onions and garlic. Add 1 cup additional carrots. Switch to plain stewed tomatoes.
Excerpted from Stock the Crock by Phyllis Good. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved