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Cucina! Cucina!'s Lentil and Sausage Soup
1 T. unsalted butter
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. Italian sausage links
1/2 C. finely diced onion
1/2 C. finely diced carrot
1/4 C. finely diced leeks
1/4 C. finely diced celery
1 1/2 C. uncooked lentils
4 C. low-sodium chicken broth
1 C. whipping cream
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 C. finely sliced fresh spinach (divided)
salt and white pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese to taste
In a heavy-bottomed 2- to 3-quart saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil until the butter is melted. Add the sausage links and brown evenly on all sides. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the sausages are cooked through. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
Add the onion, carrot, leeks and celery to the remaining butter in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender. Add the lentils and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking. When the broth comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 40 to 45 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, cut the sausages into 1/4-inch slices.
When the lentils are tender, add the sausage, cream, mustard, vinegar and three-quarters of the spinach. Stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
Serve in warm bowls with the remaining spinach divided among the bowls and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
From Cucina! Cucina! Italian Cafe
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