Thursday, February 10, 2011

Warming Italian Vegetable Soup with Beans and Orzo

Soup is easy to make. Seriously easy. I always suggest trying out a simple broccoli or vegetable soup for those who aren't quite confident in their culinary skills, as often it's just a matter of throwing ingredients into a pot and simmering. Who could be nervous throwing things into a pot, where all the magic is done without you?

The following recipe was born after a long, harrowing day for my poor husband, who has been working an awful lot as of late, in addition to his other duties. He's also been honing his own culinary skills by cooking one or two days a week, so after a particularly tough day, I told him to take a load off and with the ingredients I had in my fridge and pantry, this is what resulted. When I make it again, I will be adding zucchini. If you have a big wedge of Parmesan on hand, throw a small piece of rind while it simmers for a lovely, slightly salty finish.

Italian Vegetable Soup with Beans and Orzo

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 leek, thoroughly cleaned, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups kale, torn into pieces
2" piece of Parmesan rind (optional)
3 tbsp. orzo
Fresh ground black pepper


1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add leek, onion, celery, and garlic to pot, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and beans into the pot and stir to combine. Cover vegetables with chicken stock, and add kale and Parmesan rind (if using) to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
2. Once soup has simmered, add orzo to soup and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until orzo is cooked through. Taste for seasoning, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan sprinkled on top.

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