This Italian Chili is a spin on classic chili, with hot Italian sausage and traditional Italian flavors like oregano and basil. Plus, my two secret ingredients to add extra flavor. This is a recipe you’ll want to make again and again. Serves 2.
When I was a kid, all the memories I have of visits to my great-grandmother’s house include the scent of simmering pasta sauce – she even served pasta, along with the turkey and other traditional sides, at Thanksgiving. My mom taught me how to make homemade gnocchi, just like my great-grandmother had taught her when she was younger. Imagine my surprise when I was older and working on a genealogy project for school, to find out that I’m not Italian. Not even 1%. Nada. It turns out my great-grandmother had worked in a small pasta and pasta sauce factory, but that was about it.
I’m not Italian, but my great-grandmother was (sort of)
Now that the days are getting colder, there’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup or chili for dinner. I’ve always loved chili and started experimenting with different combinations, and came up with this Italian Chili, using hot Italian sausage and cannelini beans. The stock includes diced tomatoes, basil, and garlic. But then I’ve got TWO SECRET ingredients that really add in the flavor: roasted red pepper (in a jar) and the rind (hard end) of a Parmesan cheese wedge. The Parmesan rind adds flavor while the chili is simmering; just scoop it out when you’re done cooking (it will have gotten soft, but won’t completely melt).
- 1/3 lb Hot Italian sausage (or 2 sausage links, casing removed)
- 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (finely ground)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 jar roasted red pepper plus 1/2 Tbsp liquid
- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 7 oz cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 Parmesan cheese rind
- shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Add the Italian sausage to a large pot over medium heat. Break up with a spatula or wooden spoon and cook approximately 6 minutes, until sausage is brown.
- Add the diced onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the spices (salt, pepper, oregano, basil, paprika, cumin) and stir until evenly distributed. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer, approximately 3 minutes (you may need to turn the heat up slightly).
- Add the roasted red pepper, ½ tablespoon of the roasted red pepper liquid, and the tomato paste. Stir to combine.
- Add the can of diced tomatoes with the liquid and cannelini beans.
- Reduce heat to medium low, add the Parmesan rind and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the diced green pepper and cook an additional 15 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the Parmesan rind. Serve, topped with shredded Parmesan cheese (optional).