A copycat version of Carraba's lentil soup with sausage is featured at Epicurious and uses 1 1/2 cups dry lentils combined with 1 1/4 pounds mild Italian sausage, assorted chopped vegetables and spices. This highly rated version uses 1 carton of chicken broth as a base and yields eight servings.
The first step to making Carraba's lentil soup is to remove the sausage casings from the sausage links, and crumble the meat into a skillet pan. Cook the sausage until brown, keeping pan juices for flavor. Add the sausage to a large pot, and add in the remaining ingredients including the chicken stock, onion, celery, carrot, zucchini and diced tomatoes. Spices that make this soup pop with flavor include black and red pepper, basil, oregano, and thyme. Reserve 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese for the last step.
Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat, and let it simmer until the lentils are tender. Add 2 cups of water, or more chicken broth, until the soup is at the desired consistency. Ladle warm soup into bowls, and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.
Brown lentils are commonly used to make a variety of soups and typically turn mushy during cooking. Green lentils are often used in salads due to their nutty flavor, and red lentils are popular in purees.