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Monday, November 1, 2010

Feelin' Soupy

The leaves are changing here in Pittsburgh and the days are growing shorter.  It's getting to be soup season.  Aside from gaspacho, soup is pretty much a winter thing, if you ask me.  I guess there's chilled cucumber soup and vichyssoise, which are also nice for warmer weather.  But as far as I'm concerned, all those refreshing soups take a backseat the a nice hearty bowl of warming soup on a cold winter's day.

My love affair with soup goes way back to when I was a kid, and I discovered Campbell's Cream of Tomato soup.  I just loved the creaminess.  It felt so special because you could add milk to it instead of water.   Aside from chicken soup on holidays, my mother rarely made soup.  As an adult, I have revisited my love affair with Campbell's but have upped the ante significantly.

The other day I was talking with Frank's daughter Kelly.  She also coaches Kate, and we all spend a lot of time together.  And, let's face it, tennis isn't that interesting so we talk about a lot of other things.  It turns out that Kelly likes to cook and was making homemade tomato soup for dinner.  (You would have thought that after more than two years I would have known this given (a) how much time I spend shooting the breeze with Kelly and (b) how much I myself like to cook.)  Her tomato soup made me think of this incredibly easy and tasty recipe I saw Giada make on her Food Network show last winter.  I made it and served it to rave reviews the next day.

So now that there's a rain/snow mix in the forecast for Thursday, I thought this might be a nice way to soften the blow of the coming of the dark days of winter.

Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup
(Giada De Laurentiis)


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) jar marinara sauce (recommended: San Marzano brand)
2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth (or equal amount homemade chicken stock)
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes.Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, pastina, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

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