Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Healthy, Comforting Soups: Spinach, Pasta, and Pea Soup and Giada De Laurentiis' Winter Minestrone

I got an emergency call from Kelsey last night that I was needed to take over writing the blog entry for today. She had broken her finger playing ball hockey and was out of commission. The only new things I had tried lately were two hearty, healthy, and comforting soups for these cold winter nights. The first one I made was a Spinach, Pasta and Pea Soup from the October issue of Cooking Light. The bonus with this soup is that it takes only 20 minutes to cook and can be ready in a flash for this crazy holiday season. We enjoyed this soup, but it was could have used something to perk it up a bit. I felt good eating it as I know that it was a healthy choice for dinner. The second soup I made was to use up the great produce that I had gotten at the farmer's market. I decide to make it into a minestrone and used Giada De Laurentiis' recipe for Winter Minestrone as the base for it.  My favorite soup is minestrone and this recipe did not disappoint. If I was living in the city of Ottawa with Kelsey, I would make her a pot of one of these soups to bring her comfort as she nurses her broken finger!

Spinach, Pasta, and Pea Soup
From Cooking Light, October 2011
fserves 4

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked orzo
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1 (15-ounce) white beans, drained (my addition to the recipe)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (6 ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add olive oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add garlic and onions; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Add orzo, lemon rind, chickpeas and white beans. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until orzo is done. Stir in oregano, lemon juice, pepper, salt and spinach. ( I cooked it about 5 minutes to wilt spinach). Ladle into soup bowl and top with parmesan cheese.

Winter Minestrone
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Show: Giada at HomeEpisode: Giada's Family Christmas

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 cup cauliflower and broccoli, cut in small piesces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, divided
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth, divided
1 (1-ounce) Parmesan rind
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a large, heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, broccoli, cauliflower and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and rosemary sprigs. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes are very soft, about 10 minutes.

In a food processor or blender, combine 3/4 of the beans with 1/2 cup of broth. Blend until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable pieces are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining beans and the parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Discard the rosemary stems (the leaves will have fallen off) and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.


  1. Sorry bog followers but Kelsey will have to give me presentation and photography pointers when she is home over the holidays. My pictures are not very good! But the soups were yummy!

  2. Thanks for pinch hitting Mom! These look delicious!

  3. I never understood why there are some people who can´t stand soups!. THESE LOOK SOOOO YUMMY! I´m a soup fan, I could never live without soup. I have to try yours. LOVE FROM SPAIN


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