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Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Soup makes use of what's in the fridge

  • After a busy day at work, an easy pot of soup is just the ticket.

    Alex Garcia / Chicago Tribune

    After a busy day at work, an easy pot of soup is just the ticket.

It had been a busy weekend of cooking. So busy that by the time Monday night rolled around, I wanted something easy.
In the fridge, I spied the chicken broth I'd made the day before, plus the unused half of a butternut squash leftover from a new risotto recipe. Bonus, most of it was already cut up into small cubes. It was beginning to look like soup.
What else could go in? There was half a bunch of rapini. And some chicken sausage and sweet red peppers.
It was looking like soup indeed.
Monday night soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 Italian sausage links
8 cups homemade chicken broth or 1 carton (32 ounces) low-sodium broth
2 cups butternut squash, in small cubes
2 cups tubetti pasta, or another small shape
4-5 stalks rapini, tough stems trimmed, coarsely chopped
2 small red peppers or 1 medium red bell pepper, in medium dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese

Remove sausage from casings; form into small balls, about 1 inch wide. Cook in a skillet over medium heat until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion; sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth and remaining salt to the saucepan; heat to a boil. When boiling, add the squash and pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente and squash is done, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and red pepper 1 or 2 minutes before the pasta is done.
Add the sausage balls; season with pepper and more salt, if needed. Serve the soup topped with the grated cheese.
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 544 calories, 22 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 34 mg cholesterol, 62 g carbohydrates, 32 g protein, 1,079 mg sodium, 8 g fiber.

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