Saturday, March 2, 2013

PASTA, POTATO AND ONION SOUP



This is a really, really good soup.  Thick, so tasty, and creamy, but without dairy.  Rosemary and parsley add green flavors and give the soup a light green color. Vegetable and chicken broth add another dimension of flavors, making the soup irresistible.  You just want another and yet another bowl.  You want to enjoy those potatoes and pasta mixed in the delicious thick broth.  Carb heaven! 
A version with different pasta.  I used campanelle.  I have to admit the soup did not have the same wonderful taste as when using vermicelli pasta.  Thicker pasta is just too heavy for this soup.
It's an inexpensive meal, made with ingredients almost everyone always has on hand, and it has a long history in my family. It was one of my grandfather’s favorite soups.  We don’t know where he came across the recipe, but he taught my grandmother how to cook it.  Unusual, because pappou, as we, his grandchildren called him, was never known to go near a stove. He farmed, he made prize winning wine, he hunted, he butchered and prepared game for cooking, but he never cooked. Pappou often asked my grandmother to make this soup for him, and she did, but eventually started adding more ingredients to enhance its flavor. 

World War II was time when most Greeks were close to starvation.  Grandmother often prepared a version of this soup by using water, potatoes and a little rice or pasta.  The soup helped ease her family’s hunger during the nazi occupation.
Tastes great with just a few plain strands of vermicelli.  No need to add another type of pasta.
I learned to cook pasta and potato soup by watching my mother, and now I make my own version, especially when, like today, it’s very cold outside.  Eating it nourishes me, but it also connects me to my past.  This soup is really quick and easy to make, but it’s also a life giving soup, because a long time ago it sustained folk during wretched and unfortunate times.  So thumbs up for this pasta potato and onion soup, and please pass me another bowl.

Incredible, but I still have rosemary growing in this cold weather.   Incredible!
Ingredients:

4-5 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
3 shallots , chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic chopped well
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 nice size Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut in half - it will be used as garnish
salt and pepper to taste
leaves from one sprig of rosemary, chopped
1/2 bunch of parsley
2 cups chicken broth or water
2 cups vegetable broth or water
½ pound vermicelli pasta broken up

Directions:
  • In a large soup pot heat the olive oil and add the diced potatoes, the onion, the rosemary leaves, the celery and the garlic.  


  • Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, mixing well to incorporate the ingredients with the olive oil.  
  • Add the liquid and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and add the salt, the pepper, the Yukon gold potatoes, and the parsley. Cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
This is the Greek vermicelli, known as "fides."  Good for what ails you.  Fed to every Greek child that is feeling under the weather.  Good for adults also, and for healthy occasions as well.
If using fides or something similar, just break it up before adding it to the soup.
  • Drop the pasta into a pot of boiling water and cook according to directions.

Sometimes you want to add a sexier kind of pasta, like this campanelle.
  • Remove the Yukon gold potato from the soup and reserve it.  When it's cool enough to handle cut it into small cubes.   
  • With an immersion blender puree the rest of the soup.
Pureeing the ingredients makes the soup creamy without the need to add dairy.  
  • Add the cooked pasta and the reserved diced Yukon gold potato.  Garnish with parsley and serve hot.
Lots of other things can be added to this soup, but the more that's added, the farther away the recipe gets from my grandfather's original version.  So I like to keep it simple.  Just so I can think of my grandfather Kyriakos, and my grandmother Serafia when I am eating a bowl of this soup.




This is my contribution to "Souper Sundays," hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen. Each Sunday Deb features posts with recipes for soup, salad or stews.


3 comments:

  1. Extra carbs work for me! ;-) This soup looks so homey and satisfying--thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays.

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  2. Mmmmmm, yes this is delicious soup. I have shared it with you and your family, and it is some good.

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  3. I like fides in soup. I bet this is really good, Ana.

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