When was the last time you had alphabet soup? Now that I think of it, I can’t remember ever having it, yet I always see the cute bag of dried alphabet pasta at the grocery store and think about making it.
My 5-year-old son has been showing an interest in cooking lately so we went to the library last week to check out kids cookbooks. One of the recipes was a tomato-based alphabet soup. He really wanted me to make it.
Fast forward to 4:30 p.m. today when I was driving home with zero plans for dinner. Thankfully I had already done the shopping for this meal. It came together in a jiffy!
This soup is packed with flavor and nutrition. The reason for the flavor? Pancetta and parmesan rind. Both add wonderful depth to the soup.
I also made chicken meatballs and dropped those in while cooking. I didn’t include the recipe for those, but you could use Italian sausage or any meatball recipe you prefer.
The verdict? My son and husband gobbled up this soup! Plus, we all had fun trying to spell words in our bowls. So much fun.
Alphabet soup with vegetables
- 3-4 oz. pancetta, diced small
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced small
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 4-5 leaves of swiss chard, chopped
- 1, 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1.5 cups frozen green beans
- 1 chunk of parmesan cheese rind
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoons dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- 1 can of canellini beans, liquid reserved
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 6 oz. dried alphabet pasta, or small pasta of your choice
- 1 pound of meatballs or Italian sausage
Add a little olive oil to a large dutch oven and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the pancetta and sauté until cooked but not browned. Add the onion, carrots, chard and celery and cook till onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, beef stock, chicken stock, bay leaf, garlic powder, oregano, basil pepper flakes, parmesan rind and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper. Cover, bring to a simmer and turn heat to medium-low. Add raw sausage or meatballs and simmer, partially uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Add the frozen green beans and return to a simmer for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the beans and reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid. Whisk the flour into the bean liquid and add this to the soup to thicken it slightly.
Add the beans and pasta to the soup and simmer for 7 minutes or until pasta is done.
Serve with generous amounts of freshly grated parmesan cheese.