Sometimes in your life's travels you work with and meet some extraordinarily talented people. I would like to dedicate this dish to my dear friend, the late Lester Smilowitz. This is a play on his Italian Wedding Soup BUT on steroids. I thought of Pasta Primavera but in an unctuous lemony broth. So let's get started......
1 cup cauliflower - chopped
1 cup carrots - cubed
1 chayote squash - cubed
1 cup celery - diced
1 cup zucchini - diced
3 cloves garlic - sliced
1/2 yellow onion - diced
1 1/2 tsp Thyme
1 1/2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. of fennel seed pan toasted
tsp black pepper
tsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp. of good Balsamic vinegar
1 carton Swanson free range chicken stock
1 1/2 cups of water
tricolor Rotini pasta
Publix free range mild Italian chicken sausage
To begin: In a medium 2 liter stock pot. Puddle the bottom of the pan with some extra virgin olive oil. add you onions and sliced garlic clove to the cold pan. Now turn on your burner to a medium heat so as not to quick sear you garlic and onions but allow the essential oils to flavor the olive oil. Then add your carrots, celery, chayote squash, cauliflower and zucchini. Allow the lot to sauté until your onions are translucent. Then add your stock, lemon (halved and squeezed and tossed in the pot whole), and all your seasonings (toast your fennel seeds in a dry pan to release their essential oils). Leave it at medium heat for about 45 min. to simmer covered.
Now to prep the sausages: Preheat your oven to broil and in a medium skillet liberally puddle it with extra virgin olive oil. Place your sausages in (about 6 links) and roll them around in it. Put them in the oven and start your pasta. Once you've gotten a golden brown on both sides of the sausages. Take them out and allow them to rest before you slice them. Once the pan has cooled. I pour the remaining broiling juices into the soup pot and recover while you slice you sausages into 1/4" pieces. Put the sausage slices in the soup pot as well. By now your pasta should be ready and it's time to serve it up.
To plate: In the bottom of a substantial soup bowl. Layer some pasta, next ladle in the broth, finally the veggies and sausage. Top with some freshly chopped Italian parsley and some finely grated mozzarella.