Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Making soup out of nothing at all

I'm halfway through my buy-nothing Pantry Challenge, and the pantry is beginning to show some holes. All the fresh veggies from my last CSA box have been used up, and the mega-lasagna I made this weekend is making me tired of both lasagna and pasta. So I pulled together a soup out of nothing.

Well, not nothing--but it was comprised of a bunch of little leftover bits and a couple of pantry staples. Viewed separately, you would never have thought all those things could add up to a big, steaming, delicious pot of soup. Here's what I used, in order:

two links of Italian sausage, broken up
an onion
several cloves of garlic
a handful each of chopped celery and carrots
some frozen chopped peppers
a third of a bottle of white wine
a can of tomatoes
about half a can of tomato sauce, age indeterminate
two handfuls of white beans
a handful of Israeli couscous
a box of frozen spinach
the rind from a big hunk of parmesan cheese
lots of vegetable broth
seasonings (Italian blend, bay leaves, salt and pepper, chili flakes, chili powder, dry mustard)

Cooked down, it added up to a lovely minestrone-type soup. I served it with half a homemade baguette and felt proud that I'd emptied my refrigerator of all those little things that needed to be used up. Other things I could have added or substituted: Pasta. Barley. Frozen broccoli. Other kinds of beans. Other kinds of meat (I had at my disposal andouille sausage, turkey sausage, a ham hock and tasso, but the Italian sausage needed to be used up first). Anchovy paste. Quinoa. Frozen peas. Which just goes to show you that a properly stocked pantry can yield up all sorts of different dishes.

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