For years, cooks have known that the subtle licorice taste of fennel pairs exceptionally well with robustly flavored kielbasa. This recipe from Gayle Campbell uses both of those in a soup, along with cannellini beans — also excellent with both fennel and kielbasa — and cheese tortellini. The recipe comes from the October, 2004, edition of Bon Appetit.
Cheese Tortellini Soup with Cannellini, Kielbasa, and Spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces fully cooked kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh fennel bulb
4 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried
10 cups canned chicken broth
4 cups fresh spinach or kale
1 (15-ounce) cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
1 (9-ounce) package cheese tortellini
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add kielbasa, onion, fennel, garlic, and thyme, and sauté until vegetables are soft and kielbasa is brown, about 10 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Stir in spinach and beans. Reduce heat to low and simmer until spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes. Add tortellini to soup. Simmer until pasta is tender about 5 minutes. Top servings with Parmesan cheese.
— Gayle Campbell
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