Tonight we hosted a family birthday party for Arlene. Donovan's brothers' wife. She is a sweet friend, and a great sister-in-law. She is also a fellow lover of Carrabba's so I wanted to try to duplicate something from our favorite restaurant.
It is amazing...the world wide web I tell you. Within 2 seconds of typing in the request for Spicy Sausage & Lentil soup at google.com I had over 400 results. This is my favorite soup of all time at Carrabbas. Amazing!
Now while this is almost as good as the real thing at Carrabbas, Brace yourself for a little time spent in the kitchen. And some special ingredients.
Along with the Spicy Sausage & Lentil soup I baked some bread (also a copy cat Carrabba's recipe off of the internet) Some herb mix along with olive oil for dipping the bread into. And our main dish was Manicotti stuffed with ricotta. Donovan's mama brought a jello salad and an oreo icecream birthday cake. Mmmmm. What fun to celebrate Arlene in our family.
Here is the recipe if you are feeling energetic. I promise it is worth your time.
Sausage and Lentil Soup
1. In a large saucepan, heat one tablespoon of oil. Add one carrot - diced, two stalks of celery- diced, one large onion- chopped and two cloves of crushed garlic. Saute until tender.
2. Remove vegetables from the pan and and add one pound of hot Italian sausage, removed from the casing, to the pan. Brown the sausage, drain off fat.
3. In a large stockpot, place eight cups of chicken broth, the sauteed vegetables and the sausage meat. Open two cans of whole tomatoes, break them up by squeezing them with your hands and add to the soup along with the juice. Add two cups of dried lentils which have been washed according to package directions.
4. Season with one teaspoon of salt, 3/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds and one bay leaf.
5. Simmer until the lentils are tender, 30-45 minutes. Remove 1/3 of the soup and puree it using an hand-held blender, then return it to the pot. Correct seasonings and remove bay leaf.