I've not been cooking much lately (outside of some terribly boring stuff) since Ryan was injured, but now that the long weekend is here I have a little extra time and energy (Ryan gets up several times a night and needs something, so sleeping has been rough for over a week now).
So, the soup. Amazingly good, better then most $12 bowls at upscale restaurants.
1 tbsp canola oil
2 onions, diced
3 links medium or hot Italian sausage, sliced or crumbled
1 cup red lentils
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
2 tbsp basil
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted if possible
1 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp each basil and parsley, finely chopped (for garnish)
In a Dutch oven, heat oil until almost smoking. Add sausage and cook until browned. Remove and keep warm in a foil-covered bowl.
Add onions and saute until softened. Add chicken stock, lentils and cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
Add basil and pine nuts. Puree with stick blender, or food processor (in batches).
Return to pot and add sausage, heat through, then serve in warmed bowls garnished with the 50/50 mix of parsley and basil. Pass out some warm crusty bread too.
* As an alternative method, grill or bake the sausages separately, then slice thin and add them to the bowls at the end with the garnish. Nice presentation and also accommodates your vegetarian friends who snuck in for dinner.