Boston is currently a flurry and fury of white. We are being hit by a snowstorm, and hard. So, after an excruciating venture out into the cold, I hurried my way home to make the perfect warm-up dish: soup. Only problem is, I haven’t been grocery shopping. In weeks. Like, 3 weeks. It’s kind of sad.
However, I consider myself a master of improvisation in the kitchen. It’s something I learned from my mother, who was able to come home after a long day of work and whip up a homemade meal using whatever leftovers and cupboard staples she could. Also, I am fearless when it comes to my spice rack. I will mix-and-match spices without abandon. So, in mere minutes, I picked over my cupboards and came up with the following:
Pantry Soup: A Poor Woman’s Pasta Fagiole (when you have no Fagiole)
Crushed tomatoes (approx. one can)
Chicken bouillon (cubes or packets), or chicken broth if available
Ditalini pasta (small tubes, approx. 1.5 cups)
One can mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
Spices (including, but not limited to: chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, seasoned salt)
Saute mushrooms and garlic in olive oil in a sauce pan. Add crushed tomatoes, bouillon, bay leaves, and water (enough to make it look soupy). Bring to a boil. Add in everything else (pasta, spices, salt and pepper, more water if necessary). Boil for 3 minutes then turn down into a simmer as pasta cooks. After pasta is cooked through (and spices have been adjusted to taste), turn off and let cool for 3 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese on top.
I wouldn’t call this a prize-winning soup by any means. But it’s warm, and it’s hearty, and it’ll fill that void as you shiver-and-shake off the winter chill.
NOTE: Cooling the soup will cause the pasta to soak up a lot of the liquid. When reheating, add more bouillon and water to return to soup-like consistency.