Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow day soup

All this snow has made for the perfect pairing of warm bread and soup. That simple meal has been on our lunchtime table nearly every day this week. I began with a few canned varieties and grilled cheese sandwiches. Then today that second storm howling its way through DC its winds fiercely blowing made everyone chilled to the bone. What we needed was a hearty soup that was good. So good that you want to eat bowls of it. I poked around in my pantry searching for some inspiration. I didn't want to spend hours simmering a soup. I needed something fulfilling like it had been simmering all morning on the stove. A soup that makes those outside all morning playing in the snow feel nourished and comforted. That's a lot to make happen without any ideas. I settled on a tortellini inspired soup. A hearty but not heavy soup that is both delicious and healthy. What I came up with was Italy soup. A soup named by Olivia and perfectly suited to her interest in that beautiful country. 

Italy Soup

2 T olive oil
3-4 oz. pkg (8 thinly sliced pieces) Prosciutto, chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
6 cups chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes with juices
2 tsp. Kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/8 tsp. dried rosemary leaves, crushed
1 small bay leaf
2 cups water
1 cup mini-cheese raviolis
1/2 - 1 cup (cooked, from can) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

In a large stock pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and shallots cooking until the ham begins to crisp and shallots soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and frozen vegetables cooking another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes. Add the water and stir then add the raviolis. Simmer 5-6 minutes, or according to package instructions. Fish out the bay leaf and stir in the beans. Simmer a few minutes more then serve. 

This is an amazingly satisfying soup. Everything in one bowl makes it a perfect supper soup. I think this soup has become a new family favorite and will be gracing our table many suppers to come. 

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