Expand your soup season repertoire

Cauliflower soup is a great way to ring in soup season.

As the temperatures begin to drop and the days get shorter, that can only mean one thing.

Soup time is almost upon us. The air already smells like fall and it won’t be long before there’s a little pinch in it too. While trying to remember to bring a jacket or sweater, start thinking about the long, chilly soup season ahead.

No matter what triggers soup season for you, whether it’s Labor Day, the first day of fall, the start of October, dropping temperatures, or a return to normal time, it’s almost here.

By the time the leaves are fully colored, you’ll need a full repertoire of comforting soups at your disposal. A good soup repertoire is a mix of old cozy favorites shaken up with something new. Not terribly new. Soup is, after all, comfort food. That shouldn’t be too shocking. But consider some of these recipes to add to your old favorites.

Why hasn’t anyone thought of Pizza Soup before? Everyone loves pizza. Why wouldn’t it be soup? And tortellini are so delicious on their own, maybe it’s browning the lily to add sausage, white beans and spinach to make a soup but Tuscany is full of culinary golden lilies. It is one of the most impressive.

If pasta e fagioli isn’t in your soup repertoire, it should be. Pasta e fagioli, literally translated as “pasta and beans” and pronounced “pasta fa-ZOOL” by Italian-Americans in Brooklyn if not Italians in Italy, is the kind of comfort food any Italian grandma can make during her sleep. In fact, there are probably as many recipes as there are Italian grandmothers. The recipe below is good, but feel free to improvise. As long as you’re using some kind of pasta and some kind of bean, you’re good to go.

Pasta e fagioli is to Italians, or more accurately Italian-Americans, what a pot of pintos is to Southerners. It’s good, it’s hot, it’s filling and it’s what Grandma (or Nonna) used to make.

Try it this soup season. Maybe you should even use pintos as your bean of choice. Who knows? Maybe that’s how they do it in southern Italy.

Cauliflower soup

1 head of cauliflower

1 white or yellow onion

3-5 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon of salt

3 cups of water

Chopped parsley

Olive oil


Break the head of the cauliflower into small uniform pieces, slice the onion and mince the garlic. In a saucepan, sauté the onion for a few minutes until translucent, then add the garlic for another minute. Add the cauliflower, salt and a cup of water. Boil the water, cover the pot and cook the cauliflower for 15 minutes. Add two more cups of water, heat until bubbling again, then remove the pot. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. You may need to work in batches. It looks like there is a lot of water, but it will get surprisingly thick. Serve the soup garnished with chopped parsley, olive oil and cracked pepper. If you need heat, you can also opt for hot sauce.

Pizza soup

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 red and/or green bell peppers, chopped

kosher salt

8 oz. sliced ​​mini bella mushrooms

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1 cup chopped pepperoni, plus whole pepperoni slices for garnish

1 tbsp. italian seasoning

1 C. crushed red pepper flakes

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 crispy baguette, cut into 4-inch-long pieces

2 cups shredded mozzarella

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

In an ovenproof Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and peppers and season with salt. Cook until lightly tender and golden, 3 minutes, then add mushrooms and cook until golden and juices have evaporated, 8 minutes more. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add chopped pepperoni and stir until combined. Add Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes and chicken broth and boil for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Heat the grill. Top the pan with bread and sprinkle with mozzarella. Place the remaining pepperoni on top and carefully transfer the soup to the oven until the cheese is melted and golden. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Tuscan soup with tortellini

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 lb chicken sausages

4 garlic cloves, minced

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lb refrigerated cheese tortellini (two 9 oz packages)

15 oz. can of white beans

5 oz. baby spinach

Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onion and cook until tender and golden, 6 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken sausage. Cook until sausage is browned, 4 minutes longer. Stir in the garlic. Add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and add the tortellini. Simmer 15 minutes. Stir in white beans and spinach and cook until softened, 2 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

Barley soup with mushrooms

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

4 cups carrots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

kosher salt and black pepper

6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

3/4 cup pearl barley

1 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, carrots, garlic, thyme and ¾ teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add vegetable broth and barley. Simmer, partially covered, until barley is tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley before serving.

Pasta and fagioli

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

4 ounces pancetta, diced

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, finely diced

2 medium celery ribs, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup of white wine

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cans (14.5 ounces) cannellini beans or chickpeas (or a combination), rinsed and drained

1/4 cup dried lentils, rinsed (preferably French green lentils, but any green or brown lentils are fine)

1 cup diced or chopped canned tomatoes, with their juice

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

3/4 cup dried pasta, such as elbow macaroni or ditalini (whole wheat is fine)

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add pancetta and cook until fat begins to melt, about 5 minutes. Add onion, carrot and celery and increase heat to medium; cook, stirring frequently, until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

Add wine and cook until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add broth, salt, pepper, beans, lentils, diced tomatoes, bay leaves and rosemary. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are just tender, 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you used .

Use a slotted spoon to transfer 1 cup of the bean mixture and some liquid into a blender. Remove the central button so that the steam can escape. Hold a paper towel or kitchen towel over the opening to prevent splashing. Puree until smooth and set aside.

Add the dried pasta to the pot and stir to incorporate. Increase the heat to a simmer and cook until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, 8 to 12 minutes depending on the type of pasta you used. The soup will thicken a little while the pasta is cooked. Fish and discard the bay leaves.

Stir reserved mashed bean mixture into soup. (If you have trouble getting the mixture out of the blender, scoop out as much as you can with a rubber spatula, then add some hot soup stock and swirl to loosen it; it should come out nicely. ) Cook briefly, until the soup is hot.

Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. If soup seems too thick, gradually add 1-2 cups of water or more chicken broth and dilute to desired consistency (note: the longer it sits on the stove, the thicker it will become). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle each serving with a touch of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with more cheese, if desired.

Note: This soup is best served immediately; as it rests, the pasta and beans soak up the broth. If the soup becomes too thick, you can dilute it with a little broth or water.

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