I wait to add the zucchini and tomato until after the sausage cooks, because if you add it too early, it turns to mush. They only need to sauté for a few minutes, because when you simmer them with the broth they continue to cook.
Add the tomato sauce and broth and let the soup simmer, covered, for at least 20 minutes. The longer it sits, the more the flavors marry. Taste to see if you need more salt. I added a few teaspoons. It’s a big pot of soup!
I time it so I start cooking the tortellini when the soup is just about ready to serve. They only cook for about 7 minutes. Another trick is to add the tortellini to each bowl, rather than the large pot. When the tortellini sit in the broth, especially if you have left overs, they absorb the liquid and get really big! Top with a touch of parmesan right before serving! Perfect for a cool winter night.
Sausage Tortellini Soup
3 links hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
½ yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
8 oz can tomato sauce
4 cups vegetable broth
8 oz package whole-wheat cheese tortellini
2 tbsp dried Italian herbs
grated parmesan for garnish
In a dutch oven or large pot, sauté onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, remove the casings from the sausage. Put them in the pot and break up with a spatula. Keep breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks, about 10 minutes. Once the sausage is cooked, add the tomatoes and zucchini. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Sauté for another 5 minutes until vegetables start to soften. Add the tomato sauce and vegetable broth. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. In the meantime, cook the tortellini according to the package instructions. Ladle the soup into bowls and add tortellini to each bowl. Top with grated parmesan cheese.