- For the Sausage: (make several hours to 2 days ahead):
- 1 1/2 pounds ground pork, dark meat chicken, dark and white meat turkey or lamb
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, 2/3 palmful
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika, 2/3 palmful
- 2 teaspoons granulated onion, 2/3 palmful
- 2 teaspoons ground sage (for pork or lamb) or poultry seasoning (for ground chicken or turkey), half a palmful
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1/3 palmful
- Salt and pepper
- For the Soup:
- 2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus some for drizzling
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 starchy potato, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large bay leaf
- Herb bundle (a few stems each of rosemary, thyme and parsley tied together)
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/4 cups brown lentils
- 1 small bunch black, Tuscan or dinosaur kale/lacinato, stemmed and finely chopped or shredded
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Freshly grated Pecorino (salty, tangy) or Parmigiano-Reggiano (nutty), for serving
Combine sausage ingredients and chill several hours or up to 2 days ahead.
In large soup pot, heat EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add sausage meat, brown and crumble. Add onions, carrots, celery, potato, bay and herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Partially cover pot and cook 7-8 minutes to soften vegetables, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste until fragrant then add wine, let reduce a minute then add stock and water. Bring to boil, add lentils and cook to tender, 25-30 minutes. Wilt in kale, add a little nutmeg and adjust seasoning.
Serve in shallow bowls topped with drizzle of EVOO and some cheese. Pass bread at the table for mopping.
Options: Add a cup of small-cut pasta and omit the potato or add diced or crushed tomato and omit paste. Garnish with crispy broiled kale for added texture.