Italian Sausage Orzo Soup
3 tablespoons oil
2 lbs. Ground Hot or Mild Italian sausage
1 small red onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, finley chopped
1 ½ cups orzo pasta
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
3 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 ½ tablespoons oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
Roll Italian sausage into small balls, about 1 1/2 -2 teaspoons in size.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add meatballs, searing until browned on all sides. Transfer sausage balls to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Drain about ½ of the fat from pot.
Add onion and celery to pot and cook 6-8 minutes, or until softened and translucent, then add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Season generously with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Pour in orzo pasta and toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring so as not to brown, then pour in chicken broth, water and tomatoes (including juices). Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 9-12 minutes, or until orzo is al dente, then reduce heat to low and return sausage balls to warm up, about 4-5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, then stir in Parmesan cheese and serve hot.