It has been such a wet winter it seems like my slow cooker is constantly being called upon to make soups. I love Italian style soups but I don’t see too many of them ideal for a slow cooker. This one is perfect for the crock. The Italian sausage gets crumbled and tenderized after hours of cooking and all the flavor melts into the broth. You could probably translate this to a quicker over the stove method but honestly I love the way the meat melts into the broth with the slow cooker. I use a 6 qt. slow cooker so this recipe will make a lot of soup. I used a medley of summer squashes which was very nice in this recipe. Yellow squash and zucchini were great accompaniments but I’m sure you could experiment with whatever squash you have on hand. The “secret ingredient” for the broth is….*drum roll*… balsamic vinegar. Alright, so probably not that secret but it does offer a certain je ne sais quoi to the broth. Tomatoes and balsamic is, after all, a match made in heaven. I chose a mild Italian sausage but you could make this a bit spicier using the hot variety. Any type of small pasta noodle will do–I personally chose a small elbow macaroni for this recipe. Parmesan is great for the garnish but a sharp Romano or even slices of fresh mozzarella would be a beautiful addition as well.
Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Noodle Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 Large yellow onion, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 2 yellow squash, diced
- 2 zucchini, diced
- 10 (2 lbs.) mild Italian sausage, casing removed
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp red pepper flake
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 8 cups chicken or beef stock
- 45 oz. tomato sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated Parmesan, for garnish
- 4 cups small elbow macaroni (or 1/2 cup dried per serving)
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil to a large stockpot. Add sausage without casing and cook on medium heat. Crumble apart with a spoon as it cooks. Once browned transfer to a 6 quart sized crock pot.
Add another tbsp of olive oil to the pot and stir together the onion, bell pepper and squash. Cook until just soft, about 5-7 minutes.
Stir in garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook 1 minute until fragrant.
Add tomato paste, stir and let melt together, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the vegetable mixture to the crock pot.
Add tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar and stock to the crock pot and stir to combine.
Cook low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Once ready to serve, prepare the noodles as directed on the package.
Add a serving of cooked noodles to each bowl and ladle the soup over the noodles. Stir to combine.
Garnish with grated Parmesan and enjoy!