I hear this question almost every day. Usually after I’ve heated my soup or leftovers. Especially the soups. Nothing warms an office like the smell of a hot, spicy soup on a cold fall day.
So what is for lunch today? How about a tomato vegetable soup? The key to keeping it fresh is how the pasta is cooked. I boil it separately, draining it when it is on the firm side of al dente. If I’m serving the soup right away, I add it the last 5 minutes and let it soak up the flavors without becoming mushy. If it’s for lunch, I bring the pasta and soup separately and combine before I reheat. You can use any pasta you like, but I think the mini-pastas work well – ditalini, tiny shells or tiny elbows – they hold their firmness the best.
Spicy Vegetable Soup
- 12 oz pasta, cooked al dente and drained*
- 1 lb lean ground beef or half ground beef, half ground Italian Sausage
- 2-14 oz cans of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups diced carrots (I use frozen)
- 1 cup green beans (frozen again)
- 6 green onions, chopped (including greens)
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic
- 3 tsp dried basil, crushed
- 2 tsp to 1 tbsp fennel
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- salt & pepper to taste
In saucepan, brown ground beef (and sausage). Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and bring to a low boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add pasta during the last 5 minutes. Serves 4-6 easily. Serve with garlic bread and salad.
*rinse quickly in cold water to stop the cooking process, but don’t over rinse and lose all that nice starch for the soup.