Mother nature was a bit temperamental this weekend, and Corinne experienced her first big storm with thunder and lightening. She and I are both fighting a cruddy cough and generally not feeling so well. With an abundance of vegetables from the farmer’s market, I attempted to add a bit of comfort to our weekend with a huge pot of soup served alongside some Field Roast Celebration Roast and a bit of Acme sourdough.
I have a bag of conchigliette no. 46 pasta (very tiny shells), that I was saving to put in soup au pistou. But let’s face it, a good soup au pistou can take all day to make and I probably won’t get around to that anytime soon. Since this seemed like the perfect size pasta for this soup, in it went. I have no idea where to find this pasta anymore, so feel free to substitute with any small pasta you like. Little star shapes would be adorable.
The lemon-mint combination adds a touch of brightness to the soup. It’s a flavor combination my Middle Eastern/ Greek grandmother uses in many of her recipes, and I find myself relying on it when the flavor of a dish needs a little balancing out. Go lightly! Done right, no one will guess these two ingredients are in the soup, but their presence can make a world of difference.
2 T olive oil
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme (or more to taste)
1 tsp. dried basil (or more to taste)
1 tsp. turmeric
1 pinch chipotle chili powder (optional)
All the remaining vegetables can be cut into equal sized (approximately 1/2 inch) pieces:
1/2 cup celery root
2 large carrots
2 red potatoes
1 small turnip
1 medium zucchini
1 medium bell pepper
2 stalks celery
3-4 tsp Better than Bouillon “no chicken” base
1 cup small pasta
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
salt to taste
juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp. dried mint
1-2 cups Swiss chard leaves, cut into a chiffonade (optional)
In a large, heavy pot (5 quart is perfect) over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sautÃ© the onions, shallots, thyme, and basil until the onions begin to soften. Add garlic and sautÃ© for another minute. Add turmeric and chipotle, the remaining vegetables, and a few splashes of water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the “no chicken” base and enough water to cover the vegetables. Add pasta, garbanzos and a bit of the salt. When the broth begins to bubble, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Stirring occasionally, cook until the pasta is tender and the vegetables are soft. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Crush the mint a little in your hands and add that as well. It’s best to leave the pot on low heat for a short while to let the flavors meld a bit more, or, cool the soup, refrigerate, and rewarm the next day.
Variation: add the Swiss chard during the last ten minutes of cooking.