Recipe for Kirsten's potato, pasta and vegetable soup
Robyn, a reader from Waiheke Island, New Zealand, shared this recipe for pasta and vegetable soup, and the story behind it. Chelsea and I couldn't wait to try it. Of course we didn't follow the directions to the letter, but the soup was so good that I'm sure we got the essentials right (butter, sugar, and grated potato). Chelsea's comment: "This is the soup you want when you're sick." My thoughts exactly, except that it's also the soup I want when I'm craving soup. I guess that makes it a soup's soup. Or something like that.
Here is what Robyn wrote: "Thought of you when I was supervising my eight-year-old niece, Emily, making this soup over the weekend. Her school homework project was to make three healthy meals and report back -- she did it like a food blog post. (We had bircher muesli for breakfast, homemade bread rolls with the soup, and chicken and deconstructed salad roll-your-own wraps for dinner).
"The quick, easy, nutritious, yummy soup recipe is one from the doyenne of New Zealand home cooking, Dame Alison Holst. These days she works with her son Simon, but this recipe was one she made with her then young daughter Kirsten. While easy for a young cook, it is a really yummy soup; I like to make versions of it (with the tendency to increase the carrot and celery, and add other vegetables, too) when I am strapped for time but want a nutritious filling lunch. The small amount of butter and sugar really boosts the flavour. The potato is added not only for nutrition, but also for the thickening its starch provides."
Kirsten's potato, pasta and vegetable soup
Adapted from Robyn's recipe from Alison Holst. Neither Robyn nor I could find this recipe online, so if you do, please let me know and I'll update this link. Thank you, Robyn and Emily!
4 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought (I used Swanson 99%)
1 tsp butter
1 tsp sugar
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, topped and tailed, then grated without peeling (peel if you prefer)
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 heaping tsp Italian seasoning (a blend of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc. -- our addition)
1/2 cup pasta (We used orzo, but any small pasta would do. Robyn recommends macaroni elbows.)
1 small potato, peeled and grated
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
A few small oregano leaves, for garnish (optional)
In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, set the stock, butter and sugar over medium heat.
Add the onion, carrot and celery, in that order, and the Italian seasoning. Cover, and bring to the boil.
Remove the pot lid, and add the pasta. Bring the soup back to the boil, then reduce to simmer.
Grate the potato on the largest holes of a box grater, and add it about halfway through the time the pasta requires (add grated potato 5 minutes after '10 minute pasta' has been added). The exact timing will depend on the type of pasta you use. When the pasta is cooked, the potato will be done, and the soup will have thickened.
Taste, and adjust seasoning with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Garnish with small oregano leaves from your garden.
Serve hot, or cool to room temperature and freeze.