Michael Romano's Secret-Ingredient Soup

A Great Spring and Summer Side

GMA Recipes
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: min

The secret ingredient in this satisfying soup is a small amount of cornmeal (polenta), just enough to thicken the broth slightly. It balances the substantial sausage and greens for a soothing cold-weather dish.

Aleppo pepper comes from the town of Aleppo in northern Syria; the flaky crushed sun-dried pepper has a slightly smoky flavor. It's become easier to find in gourmet markets, but if necessary, you can substitute red pepper flakes.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¾ cup finely chopped peeled carrot
  • ¾ cup well-washed thinly sliced leeks
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces Italian fennel sausage (sweet or hot), casings removed
  • 2 tablespoons medium-grind cornmeal (polenta)
  • 5 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 4 cups packed stemmed and coarsely chopped kale or chard leaves, or a combination
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
  • Cooking Directions

    Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, leeks, garlic, salt, black pepper, and Aleppo pepper and cook, stirring, until the onion becomes translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

    Drain off the excess fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pan. Stir in the cornmeal. Add the stock, stirring, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Stir in the greens and cook for 15 minutes more, or until tender.

    Ladle into bowls and garnish with grated Parmigiano.

    Recipe courtesy Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home.

    This recipe was styled by chef Karen Pickus for Good Morning America.

    Recipe Summary

    Main Ingredients: red cabbage, fish sauce, hot sauce, basil, cilantro

    Course: Soup

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