Late Summer Soup
Hey all, I’m still kicking around. I spent last weekend in Madison, having a grand old time with my college girlfriends Cami and Michelle. We did the usual – stayed out too late Friday night, went to a Badger football game on Saturday, walked all over gorgeous downtown Madison and the UW-Madison campus, consumed the Wisconsin trifecta (brats, beer, and cheese) after the game (with Michelle’s very kind family, who generously hosted us with a serious tailgate spread), then went to bed early Saturday night. Yeah, not quite the same insanity we threw at a weekend back in the day. Thank goodness, say my liver, stomach, and the bags under my eyes. Yeesh.
Back home, I’m putting together simple, light meals, like this late summer soup I made up today. I had lots of grilled pork tenderloin leftover from last night, as well as a boatload of ripe tomatoes, so I decided to cook ahead a bit and make a brothy-yet-hearty soup for the freezer. I started with onions, carrots, and garlic sauteed in ollve oil. In went a couple of chopped tomatoes, some white wine, a handful of chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage), a can of white beans, and chicken broth. After that simmered for 20 minutes or so, I added a handful of whole-wheat elbow macaroni and the pork tenderloin, diced fine. When the pasta was just tender, I turned off the heat and stirred in several tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste (the cheese just melts into the broth, adding a layer of richness to the flavor). Spinach would have been a nice addition, but I didn’t have any. Zucchini would have be nice too, especially if you’re trying to use up the stash that seems to reproduce in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator. I love soups like this – with a simple broth base – to which you can add this and that and create something healthy and delicious.
To freeze, cool the soup to room temperature, then ladle into freezer bags or tupperware. Make sure to write the date on the container – you’ll be very glad when you pull it out in January and think, what IS this? Oooh, yay, it’s the yummy soup I made in October. Nice.
A bit of pesto is a nice stir-in to finish, as is a drizzle of best quality olive oil, or a handful of croutons, or a sprinkle of cheese. And always a pass of the pepper grinder. Enjoy!