Pure comfort food. Today was cold and rainy in most of Australia, so I fired up the wood stove and searched for a great soup recipe. This was perfect. I had the ingredients on hand and a great source of heat. My only changes were to add a sliced leek, an extra cup of beef stock and a 1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano. You mentioned using hot Italian sausages. Mine weren't hot, and I contemplated adding a couple of chopped dried chilles, but forgot to do so. I would probably add them in future, but this is a fantastic recipe either way. Thanks so much for posting.