Italian Vegetable Soup
Living in Iowa teaches you to respect the weather. It was in the 40’s yesterday … a gorgeous day that makes you think of spring and grilling. Today, we woke up to a full-blown blizzard with 6-12 inches of snow on the way … which would be fun if it weren’t for the 30-35 mph wind gusts. That’s not grilling weather … that’s soup weather!
When the forecast predicted this storm, I made sure the ingredients to make this soup were on hand.
For many people, days like these require …
- leaving earlier than usual to account for their increased commute time to work,
- putting in a full day at work,
- arriving home later than usual to clear their driveways and sidewalks, and
- avoiding the grocery stores inundated with pre-storm shoppers.
Sitting down to a bowl of hearty, healthy, HOT soup defines comfort. Since most soup is better if made a day or two in advance, a little preparation will take the stress out of the day.
I credit this recipe to my mother-in-law. She introduced me to all kinds of new recipes and I loved adding her discoveries to my collection. I have modified this one over the years, but I always think of the first time she made this for us. It is my go-to recipe to make and deliver to friends who are going through difficult times. Never underestimate the power of prayer and a warm meal … especially a warm meal that has been blessed by prayer.
Italian Vegetable Soup
- 8 oz dry pasta penne works well
- 1 lb ground beef or Italian sausage
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 28-32 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup carrots
- 1 cup celery
- 2-4 cups beef broth
- 1 cup pasta water or plain water
- 1 15 oz can cannellini or red kidney beans
- 1 15 oz can green beans
- 1-2 cups shredded cabbage or chopped kale optional
- Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Reserve the pasta water to add to the soup.
- Brown ground beef with onion and a little salt and pepper over medium heat; drain.
- Add garlic, herbs and spices. Stir into meat/onion mixture until well combined.
- Add tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.
- Add carrots, celery, beef broth, pasta water, cannellini/kidney beans, and liquid from the green beans. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer (covering pot partially with lid) for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add cabbage (do not add kale at this point if substituting) and green beans. Simmer an additional 10 minutes.
- When ready to serve, place pasta (and a small handful of kale, if using) in soup bowl and cover with soup (see note below).
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- As always, soup is better if it is made a day in advance.
- Cooking the pasta separately and adding it to the individual bowls helps to keep the pasta from becoming too soft in the leftover soup and allows each person to determine how much pasta they want!
- This recipe could also be made without meat (and with vegetable broth) for a vegetarian option.
Side Note: Just before publishing this blog, my editor (a.k.a. my oldest son) made a change that I almost didn’t find. It looked like this …
1-2 cups shredded cabbage or chopped kale (optional … but, ew!)
My family isn’t always fond of all my healthy discoveries/modifications. That’s why the kale is added into individual bowls. There are enough vegetables is this soup … I won’t force them to eat kale. They’ll come around eventually.