Soup Series: Did Someone Say Soup?


Leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air, people everywhere are packing up shorts and tank tops and replacing them with coats and scarves. Fall is here – and with it a longing for steaming bowls of soup.

In honor of the season, we’ll be featuring some of our favorite soup recipes over the next few weeks. We hope you’ll want to try them!

The Smell of Memories

I’m sure you’ve heard someone somewhere say something like, “The smell of apple pie always reminds of my grandmother’s house.” Or, “The air smells like camping in Lake Tahoe over the Fourth of July.” So, it will come as no surprise that smells have this mysterious power to transport us back to a certain time or place. They are a potent link to our past, and for me, to beloved memories of childhood.

The way I remember it, when we (my siblings and me) were little, delicious smells regularly wafted from my mother’s kitchen. Fall was an especially busy time because, as the weather cooled, my mom went into baking overdrive. We were the happy recipients of many tried and true (and experimental) recipes: banana nut muffins, peanut butter cookies, freshly baked whole wheat bread – a slice toasted just so – with butter dripping from its tiny holes.

My mom also made soup – delicious, filling, fragrant soups. My memory is full of fall days, of running into the house with ruddy cheeks, a cold nose and frozen hands, and of sinking into a dining room chair and inhaling the steamy goodness of a big bowl of homemade soup. The feeling of those fall days has stayed with me – a feeling of extraordinary happiness.

So, when I make a big pot of soup, it’s not just the recipe I’m trying to create – it’s a moment in time I don’t want to forget. Now, if I could only get my own children to try my soups!

Pasta e Fagiole (Minestrone Soup)

1 lb. dried pinto beans
2 quarts warm water
2 T. flour
2 T. olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, crushed

1 large onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
¼ c. butter
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
½ c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 (10 ½ oz.) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 T. basil
Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz. macaroni shells

Soak beans in cold water overnight. Rinse well and drain. Place beans in a large stock pot. Add flour and olive oil and stir until well coated. Add 2 quarts warm water and crushed garlic to pot; cover and simmer 1 ¼ hours or until beans are done.

Sauté onion, celery and carrots in butter in a large skillet for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and parsley. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Add water to prevent sticking, if necessary.

After beans have cooked, remove 3 cups and set aside. Put the remaining beans and the vegetable mixture through a food processor and then turn into large pot. Add beef broth, reserved beans, salt, pepper and basil. Simmer 15 minutes. Add water, if necessary, until desired consistency is achieved.

Meanwhile, cook macaroni in boiling salted water until tender. Drain. Add macaroni to soup. Stir until gently mixed.

Garnish soup with chopped parsley or basil, if desired.

Makes 10-12 generous servings.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Erik | Oct 14, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I know what you mean about smells and tastes taking us back in time. That’s why I try so hard to do the same for my kids.
    I am not sure why, but soup seems to be the perfect vehicle for this phenomenon. Maybe it is because it normally simmers for so long, and maybe it is the collagen in the stock that carries flavors so effectively, but I know that my soups are among my kids’ favorites too.

  • Ashley Paul | Oct 15, 2008 at 9:16 am

    I totally know what you mean about smells triggering childhood memories. Any time I smell turkey soup I have wonderful memories of my mom making it after Thanksgiving.

    Your soup looks delicious!