Friday, May 14, 2010

Italian Love Affair Soup

Annette here: One of my roommates' from college mom used to make a huge pot of Tortellini Soup and bring it over to us sometimes.  It is delicious and very filling.  Since I've yet to find gluten free Tortellini and I like to limit the dairy, I used meatballs instead. Also, my visiting brother requested it.  So it's not quite Italian Wedding Soup....instead... it's am Italian love affair! Vegetarians, feel free to ignore the meatballs and use the original Tortellini instead. Vegans can do it with vegan Tortellini or just add in more Quinoa for balanced protein.  YUM! 

Italian Love Affair Soup
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
1 Tablespoon Grape Seed Oil (or other medium-high heat oil of your choice)
5-6 stalks of celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups of carrots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt (the Hawaiian red salt is my favorite!)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
1 15oz can of cannellini beans
1/2 cup Quinoa (just dried....not cooked)
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
Fresh herbs*: basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley--about 1/2 cup total
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
3 cups water
48oz broth (veggie, chicken or combo)
Optional: 1 package Tortellini
Lots of leftover tomato products!  (I used 16oz of tomato soup & 16oz of crushed tomatoes.... the original recipe from  my roommate's mom says: "It's now time to clean out your fridge. Anything tomato based you have in there can go in the soup."  I have yet to try ketchup....and I'm thinking it's a good idea to stay away from it for this. :)  V8 is good in here if you're a V8 drinker.)

* I started growing my own herbs this spring so I have lots of yummy, FREE herbs!  It's really easy if you have a sunny spot.  You just have to water them.  I probably wouldn't go buy a package of all of these...they're expensive.  Just use two more Tablespoons of the dried Italian Seasoning.

For the meatballs:
1/2 cup GF Italian bread crumbs (I love Gillian Foods!)
1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tablespoon dried)

Directions for Meatballs
In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients.  Roll in to small quarter sized balls and fry in a skillet over medium heat until they become a little browned on most of the sides.  DO NOT EAT...they are still raw and will finish cooking in the soup.
Directions for the soup: 
Chop, chop, chop lots of veggies.  Toss chopped cabbage, onions, carrots, celery, garlic and Grape Seed Oil in a large stock pot.  I'm talking large here.  Saute until soft, about 15 minutes.  Toss in salt, fresh herbs, Italian seasoning, green onions, diced tomatoes, tomato products, broth, and the meatballs.  Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for an hour or more.  The longer and slower you cook it the better it tastes.  I cooked my pot today for 4 hours.  As your cooking, watch the liquid level.  I added about 3 cups of water, but you might want less or more depending on how long you're cooking it.  Thirty minutes before calling it done add in the beans, Quinoa, zucchini, and uncooked Tortellini if you're using it.  Serve it up with some nice whole grain bread and dinner is served!
For my brother's ranking: tasty, good, so good, SO good, SOOOOO good... this got a SO good!

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