Soup No. 10: It’s as easy as A, B, C

Dec.22.09 § Leave a comment

Standard, weekly disclaimer: I have commitment issues. I mean to keep this blog fresh, I swear. I’ll do better in the new year. It’s even on my list of resolutions. I pinky promise. But my commitment to feeding myself, and others, remains unwavering. So here is the soup I made last week.


I wasn’t feeling well and my fridge was pretty bare. For some reason alphabets give me instant comfort, especially in a tomato based soup. Maybe it reminds me of Spaghetti-O’s, which, if you let this sit in the fridge long enough, it will end up tasting strikingly similar to.
A memory of Spaghetti-O’s crossed my mind while I ate the first couple of bows of this soup. I was a child and I was coming down with the flu and my mom made me Spaghetti-O’s. It is the first conscious memory I have of puking violently into the toilet (little did I know many more would be made, though they wouldn’t have anything to do with the flu…). But after that day, I vowed never to eat them again. And I didn’t for maybe 15 years until I was in college and, surprise, couldn’t afford real food. While pondering this, I thought of one of my first soup-making adventures. I combined tomato paste, a box of vegetable broth and alphabets, and topped it with fresh chopped basil. It was mediocre. My friend tasted it and I’ll never forget her reaction. She said, “Mmm, Chef Boyardee!” I’ve begun to wonder if that’s what my tomato based soups taste like.
You can make this extremely easy (and cheap) recipe and decide for yourself.

Easy Alphabet Soup
1 onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried, ground thyme
2 tsp dried oregan
1 tsp dried basil
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 box (4 cups) vegetable broth
1/4 box of alphabet pasta
Parmesan cheese for serving

Start by boiling water for the alphabets. I use a small sauce pan when I make them because they are so tiny.
Dice the onion, small because the soup is not meant to be chunky. Heat a soup pot on medium heat.
The water for the pasta is likely to boil at this time. Add the alphabets and make sure to stir every now and then so the buggers don’t stick to the pot.
Add oil to the heated soup pot and toss in the onions. Sweat the onions for about seven minutes while mincing the garlic. Add the garlic, stir and add seasonings. Stir and add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Let the mixture heat through before turning the heat down to a simmer. When the alphabets are ready add them, and the remaining pasta water (if you want, I enjoy the extra starch for comfort purposes) to the soup pot. Stir and it’s ready to serve.
It’s extremely simple. It doesn’t pack very many magical nutrients, but it made me feel cozy and warm and happy so that whatever ailment I had (in the form of a fake-out cold) was gone within a couple of days.

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