The second veggie adventure was determined for two reasons:
- I had a half carton of vegetable broth to use up.
- I love this soup. Love, love, love.
Really. I love it. Even though Scott doesn’t like it (or any soup at all, really) I’ll make and consume an entire batch myself in a week of lunches. It’s packed full of whatever veggies we have on hand, and in my typically carbohydrate-loaded diet this is a very good thing. I’ve served it to GUESTS in the middle of a scorching August — decidedly non-soup weather. I love it.
The thing is, it’s never the same soup twice. I followed the recipe (found here, at Eating Well) the first time and felt that it had potential but was too onion-y and too, too spicy. Since then, the onions have been permanently banished, with carrots, peas, green beans, and/or broccoli all finding their way in with the zucchini and peppers on occasion. I’ve also experimented with NO crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch, or a slightly larger pinch, and the type and quantity of pasta has undergone experimentation as well. I feel like an entire package of cheese-filled pasta overwhelms the veggies, so I normally use half or 2/3 of the package instead. I even opted for some whole wheat ziti when I prepared it for Trophy Wife. I do my best to offer her vegan dishes when she visits, because I’m awesome like that and I like a challenge.
My brother argues that this isn’t really a soup at all, but a pasta dish with a thin, veggie-laden sauce. Whatever the case, it is delicious and easy to prepare.
First, I gather together some olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, whatever veggies I have on hand (in this case, frozen peas, a squash, and a green pepper), crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, basil, and pepper. The garlic, olive oil, and red pepper goes into a pot over medium heat while I chop whatever requires chopping. (Sidenote: These pictures are horrible. You can blame the baby monitor in the left corner…LilRunr was close to waking up from a nap, and I was trying desperately to get everything in the pot before he and his stomach woke up.)
When that has sizzled for a minute or two, I add the tomatoes, broth, water, basil, pepper, and most of the vegetables. If you’ve selected something that doesn’t need much cook time (like frozen peas), it’s best to save those for the last couple of minutes of cooking.
Bring the mixture to a low boil and let it simmer away happily for five minutes or so before adding the pasta.
Cook for 10 minutes more, and then serve. Toast optional. Waiting until it’s a reasonable temperature to start eating is recommended. (I forgot about this step, sadly. Little man was starting to wake and I got impatient.)