You’d think I belonged to a CSA with all of the vegetables I have on the counter and in our vegetable drawers. It’s a Sunday afternoon and I’ve decided a soup is the way to go. I’m adding in a fresh tomato puree (a bumper crop of tomatoes from our garden this year), but I’m using a store-bought chicken stock to save time. Although, I’m a big advocate of making your own stock – it’s rather easy.
To appeal to the kids, I’m boiling up Organic Alphabet Pasta from Trader Joe’s. You can certainly add any pasta from your pantry. It’s a great way to use up those almost-gone bags of pasta, just be sure to add your cooked pasta into each indiviual bowl and then ladle your soup on top. Storing cooked pasta in a soup will lead to your pasta soaking up the broth. More problematic if you have left-overs.
For my hubby and I, I’m preparing a pistou to add into the finished soup (minus the alphabet pasta). A pistou is similar to the Italian pesto, but the pistou hails from France. You’ll notice the absence of nuts in this recipe (such as pine nuts or walnuts, as are sometimes used). Real pistou is made using a mortar and pestle, but time constraints and interruptions to play “super heroes” with my 3 year-old has me using my food processor. You’ll see that I recommend using a good quality Parmagiano-Reggiano (freshly grated) to enhance the finished pistou. You won’t be sorry you paid a few extra dollars for it.
Vegetable Soup Recipe
1 leek, white parts only – finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 medium red potatoes
2 stalks of celery
2 small carrots
1 small zucchini (or 1/2 of a medium)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tbsp water
4 1/2 cups chicken stock (I used low sodium)
2 – 3 ripe tomatoes (or 2 tbsp tomato paste)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut potatoes (leaving skin on), celery, carrots and zucchini into 1/4-inch dice. Heat a heavy-bottomed stock pot (Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the olive oil and water. Add all of the veggies and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until water evaporates. Vegetables should have no color after sauteeeing. Add chicken stock to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Potatoes should be tender, when pierced with a fork.
Add fresh tomato puree and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
Add cooked macaroni (if using) to the bottom of individual bowls. Ladel soup on top.
Stir pistou (if using) into individual servings.
Yield: 4 servings
Kitchen Note: Click on the link above to get simple direction on peeling tomatoes. To seed your tomatoes, cut peeled tomatoes in half and squeeze over a bowl in your sink. The seeds should come out easily. Use your food processor to puree the peeled, seeded tomatoes.