Italian Sub ‘Stoup’

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‘Stoup’ is Rachael Ray’s term for a dish that’s a cross between a soup and a stew. Packed with the ingredients found on an Italian sub sandwich, this very hearty stoup really satisfies the stomach and spirit.  I got this recipe from one of Rachael Ray’s ‘thirty minute meals’ shows.

Italian Sub Stoup and Garlic Toast Floaters
1 lb. (4 links) hot or sweet Italian sausage, split and meat removed from casing
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/4 pound piece stick pepperoni, diced
Diced ham (from deli), 1/2 to 3/4 pound
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 T. fresh basil or 1 t. dried basil
1/2 pound broken spaghetti or other small pasta
2 cups kale, washed and coarsely chopped (may substitute arugula or Italian parsley)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Brown sausage in a large soup pot on the stove top, stirring to crumble. Drain off excess fat if necessary. Add onion and cook until soft. Add ham and pepperoni. Cook meats together 2 minutes, then add pepper and cook 2 or 3 minutes more. Add diced tomatoes and chicken stock, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and boil for 8 minutes. Stir kale or arugula into soup just before you serve it up.

Croutons may be made in the oven or in a skillet.
Croutons:
3 T. olive oil
5 cups cubed crusty bread
3 large cloves garlic, cracked from skin (OR 1 t. garlic powder)
1/2 t. oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Place bread cubes in a jelly roll pan and drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder and oregano, tossing to coat. Bake at 300 about 20-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until croutons are toasty and golden. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

OR: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add whole cracked garlic and cook 1 minute. Remove garlic; add bread to garlic oil, toss and toast the cubes 5 or 6 minutes. Season the toasty cubes with oregano and red pepper flakes.

Ladle up the stoup and float several toasty garlic bread cubes in each bowl. Sprinkle with lots of grated cheese.

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