Italian Vegetable (Love) Soup

I share this recipe, and the story behind it, from time to time. It’s a really simple soup to make that everyone seems to like. It’s good comfort food with a nice loaf of bread. It’s a good one to share too…… It’s become my “go to” recipe when I want to spread a little love and give it away.

I first had this soup almost three years ago. It’s been almost three years since I lost my home (and ended up in a really beautiful one by the grace of God….) At the time I was trying to pack and be out of my house and I was falling apart. I cannot fully describe what it was like being paralyzed by stress. I was having a hard time packing because my head was full of everything that needed to be done; find a place to live, a job, what to do, stay or go, where to turn……Simply filling boxes was beyond me.

That night my friend, Susan, called and said she was bringing over some soup. I told her not to. I didn’t want to see anybody or deal with people. She said she was coming anyway. She left me with a gallon of this soup, some grated parmesan (very key to the flavor) and a loaf of bread. That soup didn’t last the night. My boys ate it all in one sitting.

Such a simple thing, really, a batch of soup. But, I felt loved, cared for and comforted. I wasn’t alone. Somebody cared enough to cook me some soup. So, whenever I want to spread some warmth and love to someone who needs it, I make this soup. I know it’s corny, but I always call it “Love Soup”.

Today, I am helping pack up a woman with a little boy, who lost her home and the family fortune that was supposed to sustain them forever. She has no job. Isn’t sure where she’s going. Her mom died when she was 16 and her dad died two weeks ago. She is in a very bad position. My heart is going out to her. I know…… I can’t change what’s happening. But, when I go over there this morning, I can bring some soup, and some bread and maybe it will help a little…….

Italian Vegetable Soup

1 pound ground beef       1 cup diced onion   1 cup sliced celery       1 cup sliced carrots            2 cloves garlic, minced     1 can (16 oz.) tomatoes      1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce            1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, undrained    2 cups water    5 teaspoons beef bouillon            1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes   1 teaspoon salt     1/2 teaspoon oregano                          1/2 teaspoon sweet basil    1/4 teaspoon black pepper        2 cups shredded cabbage             1 cup frozen or fresh green beans, cut in 1 inch pieces       1/2 cup small elbow macaroni Parmesan cheese

Brown beef in large heavy kettle; drain. Add all the ingredients except cabbage, green beans and macaroni. Bring to boil. Lower heat; cover and simer 20 minutes. Add cabbage, green beans and macaroni; bring to boil and simmer until vegetables are tender. If you prefer a thinner soup, add additional water or broth. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.


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