My version of Italian vegetable soup – a recipe

I’m not a huge fan of soup – I often find I’m still hungry after eating a bowl, but I put together this recipe for Italian vegetable soup – all vegetarian, vegan, if I’m not mistaken, by the way. The great thing about soup is that you don’t need to follow a recipe strictly – you just kind-of throw in what you already have. Most Italian soups call for pancetta or bacon – since I’m a vegetarian now, I just added a couple drops of liquid smoke to mimic the taste of bacon…

This was meant to serve two, but it looks more like it’ll serve four.

1/2 white onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red/green/orange/yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
4 oz of cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup of red wine
4 cups of water
1 tbl of sriracha sauce – or any kind of hot sauce
1 tbl hot Chinese mustard
1 tbl of tomato paste
A handful of Italian parsley
A generous handful of chopped Kale
1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of orzo pasta
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray
1/4 cup of shredded of Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, spray some cooking spray and heat over a medium-high heat. Sprinkle the hot pepper flakes and heat for a few minutes. Then add the onions, garlic, carrot, bell pepper, celery and cook just until the vegetables have softened. Sprinkle a bit of salt so that the veggies will release their liquid. Then add the tomato paste and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until a darkened fond appears on the bottom of the pan – I like a rich, deep fond, so I wait until it’s dark brown – just be careful you don’t let it burn (though I like to get it really close). Then add the wine a little at a time, stirring constantly to break up the fond – you’ll get a dark red, syrupy mess. Add the water, tomatoes, sriracha sauce, mustard, beans, peas and pasta and stir, allowing it to come to a boil. Reduce heat to a low and let it simmer (just barely bubbling), for about an hour. Stir from time to time to make sure that the pasta won’t stick to the bottom of the pan. After an hour, add the parsley and the kale, stir, grind some pepper and cook for another 15 minutes – the starch from the pasta and the beans will thicken the soup – and the pasta should puff up, too. Take off heat and serve in bowls, with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and drizzle some really good olive oil, if you’d like. Oh, and enjoy.












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