I’ve been going through a bit of an Italian-style phase lately with the new recipes I’ve been trying. One of my more recent attempts is a Spaghetti Lover’s Soup inspired by a recipe in a Simply Perfect Italian cooking magazine I have.
Not only is this soup yummy, but it’s pretty nutritious, too. It’s chock-ful of veggies and has only a bit of spaghetti — just 2 ounces in the entire 6 to 8 serving pot of soup. It gives you the full flavor of spaghetti with just a fraction of the pasta carbs.
Tip for Pasta in Soups & Stews: Want to keep pasta or rice from getting mushy in your soup? Cook it ahead of time and chill it in the ‘fridge before adding it, cold, to the soup. Just as cold rice makes for better fried rice, chilled pasta will have a better texture in soups and stews.
Vegetarians: Use your favorite vegetarian substitute for the meat; add in a can (15 – 16 ounces) or two of cannellini or kidney beans, rinsed and drained; and/or add in some more veggies!
Substitutions: You can vary this soup up a bit with a variety of vegetables. For example, I didn’t have any green bell pepper on hand, so I added in some sliced fresh mushrooms. Zucchini would also be a great substitute or addition. Just have some fun with it!
However you make it, I promise you, it smells and tastes YUMMY! And I’m betting you’ll find yourself singing “That’s Amore!” while it simmers. (Go on, take just over three minutes to hear Dean sing — you know you want to!)
Spaghetti Lover’s Soup (Serves 6 to 8)
Vegetarians: See the suggestions above.
- 1 pound lean (93/7 or greater) ground beef or ground turkey, or 1 pound bulk turkey sausage, reduced-fat bulk pork sausage, or cooked Italian turkey or chicken sausage
- Olive or canola oil
- Red wine (white would likely work, as well)
- 1/2 medium to large onion, finely chopped/diced
- 2 carrots, scraped and sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 green or yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced (or substitute mushrooms and/or zucchini)
- Sliced mushrooms (fresh or tinned/jarred), if desired
- Minced garlic to taste
- 2 cans (14 -15 ounces each) diced tomatoes (use Italian-seasoned tomatoes, if desired)
- 1 can (15 – 16 ounces) tomato sauce (OR two 8-ounce cans) tomato sauce (use Italian-seasoned sauce, if desired)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 ounces dried spaghetti, broken into 2″ pieces, cooked al dente and refrigerated
- Splash of Worcestershire sauce (Vegetarians: Leave out or use a vegan substitute)
- Seasonings to taste: bay leaf(ves), basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, parsley and rosemary (optional))
- Brown meat in a large non-stick Dutch oven/saucepan in a splash of olive or canola oil.
- Add in diced onion, sliced carrot, sliced celery, chopped bell pepper (if using), sliced mushrooms — whatever vegetables you’re using — and sauté for just a bit. Add in minced garlic and sauté. Add in some healthy splashes of wine (I prefer red; I used some Shiraz, because that’s what I had on hand and open) to “deglaze” the pan.
- Pour in UNDRAINED tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water.
- Add seasonings to taste: a splash of Worcestershire sauce, basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, and parsley. I also like a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to give it a hint of “fra diavolo” flavor. Add in a bay leaf or two. I’m lucky enough to have fresh rosemary growing in my herb garden, so I like to lay a snipping or two of rosemary twigs on the sauce to simmer (as with bay leaves, I remove them before we eat). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
- Cook until vegetables are tender (30 to 45 minutes).
- Stir in cooked, chilled, broken spaghetti. Simmer until noodles are heated through.
- Serve immediately. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.
CrockPot It! In a large non-stick skillet, brown meat and sauté vegetables as described above. Place all ingredients EXCEPT water and spaghetti noodles into CrockPot. (Do yourself a favor and use a CrockPot liner!) Cook on low 8 to 10 hours or high 4 to 5 hours. If soup seems too thick, add in desired amount of water. Stir in cooked spaghetti and leave in covered CrockPot until heated through.