Rainbow Chard, Carrots, Summer Squash

Soup is my zen, the weekly ritual that makes me feel centered, balanced and restored. Making a great pot of soup made makes me confident that at least one meal for my family will be wholesome and nurturing.  Usually, it is stocked with a variety of vegetables for nutritional value, sometimes a grain or legume, and always, homemade stock.

This week I started with carrots, zucchini, patty pan squash and stunning rainbow chard from my farm box. I sauteed these up with  Trader Joes sweet Italian chicken sausage for some robust flavor without much fat, and added white beans to give the soup a solid protein base. Serve this soup with some homey, warm bread spread with herbed ricotta (a cup of ricotta cheese, a tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs, a hit of extra-virgin olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and a crank of freshly ground pepper.)

Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage, Rainbow Chard, and White Bean Soup with Rosemary

Serves 6-8

Add the sliced ribs of the rainbow chard, they will be tender and rustic in the soup.

2 sweet Italian chicken sausages, casing removed

4 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds

4 celery stocks, cut into slices

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 onion, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 patty pan squash, diced

1 bunch rainbow chard, ribs sliced, leaves cut into thin ribbons

1 sprig rosemary

1 pinch of chile flakes

1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice

1 15-ounce can of white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

16 ounces of homemade vegetable or chicken stock, or good-quality, low-sodium store-bought broth

Olive oil, salt & pepper

Heat a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-heat and add a splash of olive oil. Put chicken sausage in the pot and break up with a wooden spoon until crumbled. Add carrots, celery, onions and garlic to the pot, and cook until softened, about 5. Add the zucchini, squash, chard, rosemary sprig and chile flakes. Season with salt and pepper, stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, white beans and stock (or broth) and stir. Raise heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, unocovered, for 30 minutes, and then taste for seasoning. Add a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper to balance, and remove rosemary sprig to serve.

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