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July 19, 2011

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!

Serves 4.


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.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: Adele in N. Minn. | July 19, 2011 at 07:39 AM

With the addition of leftover roasted chicken, this would make a very hearty meal.

Posted by: CJ McD | July 20, 2011 at 11:38 AM

This soup sounds delicious as is or as a perfect back drop to highlight any vegetable or herb. The leftover roast chicken idea is wonderful too.

I especially like the little surprising bite of the fresh oregano added at the end of the recipe.

Posted by: Lydia | July 21, 2011 at 06:54 AM

Adele, I think this would be a great one-pot meal with some chicken added.

CJ, fresh oregano is so much more potent than dried. I always tread lightly when I use it. The oregano wasn't in the recipe I received from Robyn, but it's a wonderful addition.

Posted by: George | July 21, 2011 at 08:38 PM

This is a wonderful soup that I really want to try. My family will surely love this, and I think I'm going to add some jalapeno, just to add some warm and burning sensation into it. Hmmmm! I love it to be spicy!

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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