1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, removed from casings
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
2 cups red bell pepper, diced (about one large pepper)
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
¼ cup tomato paste
5 fresh plum tomatoes, diced
2 pounds zucchini cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts good quality vegetable broth
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
A few Parmesan cheese rinds (optional but recommended)
2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
In a large soup pot or large Dutch oven, place olive oil over medium high heat and once hot, add sausage meat. Break up meat while it cooks.
Once the meat has browned, add onion, celery, carrots and bell pepper and sauté for four minutes.
Move the vegetables to the sides and lower heat to medium. Add garlic, pepper flakes and tomato paste to center and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, zucchini, salt, pepper, broth, Parmesan cheese and Parmesan rinds along with fresh basil and fresh oregano and stir to combine.
Bring to a medium simmer and cook just long enough until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove from heat and remove and discard the Parmesan rinds.
Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese on the side.