Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Minestra al pomodoro e pesto

It's finally soup weather. We've gotten back to the sodden, gloomy, winter weather that makes people slit their wrists when they move here. I love it. It's damp and moldy, and it smells like warm compost and fecundity again after all that stupid Arctic Blast nonsense. Snow and ice doesn't make me crave soup, it makes me crave hard liquor and sweets, preferably combined. Soup in rainy weather, however, is the pink in my cheeks.

This is Soup. It is a rib-sticking bowl of salubrity that chases the hate away. I wanted a minestrone-type affair, but don't really care about beans enough to make room for them among the sausage and tortellini. If you want a vegetarian-ish version of this, by all means, omit the sausage. But everyone knows that vegetarians will lose the fight against the zombies when the end times come, so you may as well start building your strength and perfecting your aim.

This is a soup of leftovers and fridge-purge. Bulk pork Italian sausage got browned with leftover chopped onions, red peppers and chopped mushrooms. Tubs of fire-roasted tomatoes (puree with a half a can of tomato paste and a glug of budget Syrah) chicken stock from the freezer sauced it up all brothy. Tortellinis in, and after they softened up a bit, Blue Lake green beans and choy sum joined the party. A moment later, half a tub of leftover arugula-pumpkin seed pesto enriched the broth and brought some much-needed garlic. Soup's on.

Top with copious amounts of Pecorino Romano and a spoonful of pesto. Serve with olive ciabatta and Les Hérétiques. Buon appetito.


Brittany said...

I don't know why, but I love these pictures. They are eerily soothing.
Soup looks delish too.

Seriously, it's nice to be back on track with a hearty 50 degree NW rain.
We even have major flood warnings to boot.
Home sweet home.

Bellini Valli said...

Fridge purge makes the best soup Heather. It's nice to see the snow melting...and guess what I even saw the sun today here in the valley:D

Foodycat said...

Now that is just the thing! I love the tortellini in it.

Manggy said...

Whaddya mean, it's "finally" soup weather?! I thought you Amer'kuns had been cuddling up for a while now. I know I have been since I got here :)
but don't really care about beans enough to make room for them
Oh, NO you didn't. (Imagine me saying that using variation 2 of saying that phrase, not the more common variation 1 "ohno you DI-nt!!") Ah, but if it makes more room for lovely, lovely sausage, then it's all okay :)

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Looks like a perfect soup for some damp rainy weather!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

My favorite part of this post:

"I wanted a minestrone-type affair, but don't really care about beans enough to make room for them among the sausage and tortellini... But everyone knows that vegetarians will lose the fight against the zombies when the end times come, so you may as well start building your strength and perfecting your aim.

Let's hear it for more tortellini and sausage!

Catherine Wilkinson said...

That's right, sistah! Eat meat and fight the damn zombies! I want you on my team! And bring this soup!
btw...I'm taking a "concealed weapons course" next week so I can pack heat! Pity the poor zombie foo!

Heather said...

Brittany - These look like they're from the hot lava level in Super Mario Brothers.

Valli - Like Brittany said, it's good to be back in the mid-double digits for weather again. :)

Alicia - I can't not put tortellini in minestrone. It's too good.

Mark - Oh yes I did. Hey, and besides, between all the holidays we're eating cookies, turkey and casserole for like two months. In a month it'll finally be risotto weather.

Judy - The leftovers are the best part. :)

Rachel - I pity the vegetarian fighting a zombie.

CAtherine - You are such a badass. I want YOU on MY team in the apocalypse!

Elra said...

Omit the sausages? oh dear, not for me thanks! I love them and I shall eat them too.
Soup always sounds so good in winter.

Nathan said...

I’m with you on the soup-kick (doing a synchronized kick like a Radio City Rockette); however, NW Ohio is snowed in and ass-numbing cold and soup seems appropriate.

Last night’s soup was an adaptation of my crowd-pleasing Calabrese-style gnocchi. I started with onion, lightly sautéed in butter, then garlic, and some dried oregano. Right at the end of sautéing, I added a tablespoon of flour to make roux. Then, a quart of frozen turkey stock (I love the many uses), and a quart of tomatoes with basil, some lazy-cook shreds of Parm & Romano blend from a bag, a couple healthy shakes of ground cayenne, and enough milk to make it look creamy and delicious; blended it all with my plunge-mixer. In went cubed, left-over tomato-pesto chicken and imported commercial gnocchi from Trader Giotto’s (I prefer my own homemade, but keep a package or two on hand for moments like these). Adjusted the flavor with s&p and let it simmer for a few. Ladled it into large bowls and topped it with shredded farmer’s cheese from Heini’s in, Ohio’s Amish Country, and pleased the crowd.

Núria said...

Soups are my kind of dish in winter! I LOVE them!!! My husband's oldest daughter was having lunch here the other day... she ate 4 dishes of my Xmas soup... he, he... I was soooo happy!

Tomorrow will snow here, can you believe that? I'll see what I find in my fridge ;D

peter said...

I agree about everything except the beans. Now that you have a pressure cooker, there's no excuse...

(In best vegetarian zombie voice) "BEEEAAAAAANNNNSSSSS......."

Christine said...

I've been checking out your site for quite the while (don't think I've commented before)...and well, it has to be said, I want to move in with you.

Really. This website makes me want to leave work this instant and go home and make something delicious. Thanks

Brooke said...

I'll take grey over that white bullshit any day of the goddamn week. Though now we're waterlogged instead of blizzarded. God I love it here.

I dig your soup bowls. They remind me of my grandma's uber-70s-chic fuzzy wallpaper and shag carpeting.

Thank you for shunning the beans. Those are the worst part of minestrone soup.

peter said...


cookiecrumb said...

What's risotto weather?
We just went through cheese fondue weather, and it worked.

matt wright said...

I'll take a bowl of it please.
Rain is awesome. Floods. At least my basement is now at the right humidity for charcuterie though!

Heather said...

Elra - Not that I'm judging, but I personally could never do that. Omit the sausage, that is.

Nathan - Maybe you should just copy and paste that crowd-pleaser into a blogpost. :D

Núria - I would probably eat three bowls of your soup, too.

Jube - It's still the difference between dinner in 30 minutes or an hour and a half. Zombie.

Christine - Well thanks for finally coming out of lurkdom. :)

Brookie - Oh, no, honey those are my pasta bowls. I just use them for I-talian food. (I love brocade wallpaper, shag carpet and those giant wine jugs with plants growing inside them.)

Jube - In your head. In your head. Zombie. Zombie. Zombie-ie-ie.

Cookie - I always think of February-March as risotto weather. Maybe it's the peas and asparagus.

Matt - Ours is getting a bit moldy, but the standing water is gone. Gotta love 100 year-old houses in the PNW.

Finspot said...

I hear ya! We made Tortilla Soup to celebrate the floods up here in Seattle. Your Minestra looks killer. Love the blog!


Fran said...

I could live on soup during the Winter!!

Foodycat said...

Thank god - a woman who is the right vintage to remember the Cranberries!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Despite appearances on my blog, I'm not really that into soup. It's probably not that into me, either, but I'm not fussed.

This, however, strikes me as yummy Italian bits and pieces with some tasty liquid around the edges.

If it qualifies as soup, then I think I've just become a soup lover. Yes, I know I'm fickle. I'm a girl. It comes with the territory.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's a lot of flavor in one bowl!

Heather said...

Finny - Love yours too! Thanks for the visit.

Fran - Me too! Especially since it tends to be a little lower in calories. :)

Alicia - I am the proper vintage! I'm so glad that you got the reference. :)

Sketti - It's pasta and sausage. What's not to love?

Maryann - It sure was! :D

Peter M said...

Any weather report that predicts it will be below 10C, and soup's on.

The tortellini in here makes this a meal.

Jonny said...

I wonder if Les Heretiques (the Cathars) ate soup with sausage before their (ultimately unsuccessful) final battle with the Albigensians? (yes, nerd alert...)

Lo said...

Mmm. Warm compost.
I could snuggle up into that.

Oh, yeah -- great soup too :)

glamah16 said...

Nice picture and soup.It makes me warmer looking at it.

we are never full said...

mmmmm. so the snow's over? good for you.

damn that pesto looks thick. it looks fresh too. i take it you had frozen it?

Heather said...

Peter - 10C? That's just nonsense. Oh wait, that's only like 50. That's what we have!

Jonny - Amy's a lucky girl. ;)

Lo - There's something about duff, isn't there?

Courtney - That's because my white balance is off. :P

Amy - I made it fresh the day before. Plus, arugula pesto doesn't seem to oxidize the way basil pesto does.