Makes about 2 quarts
Who does not recall spelling out his or her name in steaming bowls of alphabet soup as a child? For me it is an enduring memory of good comfort food from home. In this simple but very tasty soup, tiny alphabet pasta is cooked in boiling homemade vegetable broth, which can be made ahead and frozen so it is always on hand. The secret to the flavor of this soup is the long cooking time.
2 onions, peeled and quartered
2 leeks, bulb part only, cut into quarters
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 ribs celery, cut into chunks
5 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 small bunch fresh Italian parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
4 or 5 cloves
Fine sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 cups water
1 cup Alphabet Macaroni
Put all the ingredients except the macaroni in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered for 2 hours.
Place a large colander lined with damp cheesecloth over a large bowl. Strain the broth through the colander, pressing the vegetables with the back of a wooden spoon the release all the juices. Discard the solids in the colander.
Return the soup to a soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until the pasta is al dente. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately.
NOTE: Cubes of fresh mozzarella cheese are delicious stirred into the soup just before serving.
This recipe is from MANGIA PASTA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc., in 1998.
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