Monday, January 24, 2011

Italian Vegetable Soup

Vegetable Juice
Featured Ingredient: V8 Vegetable Juice and a cast of Characters from the Land of Misfit Vegetables.

My husband and I have a Saturday night ritual of watching a movie. Last Saturday's selection was a movie called Paper Man.  It stars Jeff Daniels as a reclusive less than successful author with an imaginary friend and desperate need to connect with someone that understands him.  I would recommend it.  It has a nice story and it doesn't hurt that Ryan Reynolds is dressed up in a skin tight Superhero outfit. 

This recipe was actually inspired by the movie.  In the movie Jeff Daniels hires a babysitter for himself and she makes him soup.  The soup is more of a metaphor than a meal.   I don't know what was in her soup besides a carrot, potato and beer, but she created the soup using what he had in his kitchen, so that was my objective as well.   This soup was a great affirmation that something so wholesome and wonderful can come from a big mess of ingredients.  I think that is true metaphor.  Here's some more info on the movie if you are interested

I noticed as I was collecting the veggies from my fridge that the majority of them were the kinds you would find in Italian dishes, so I figured that was the culinary direction in which I would go.

Italian Vegetable Soup

1 1/2 fennel bulb - sliced and roughly chopped
1/2 cup onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cups tomatoes on the vine. Halved and seeds removed
6 cups chicken broth

2 5.5 oz. cans V8 Vegetable Juice
1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp marjoram
2 bay leaves
1 cup carrot thinly sliced
1 cup potato diced

1 tsp salt - plus more to taste
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup orzo (or other small pasta)
2 cups roughly chopped zucchini

Heat oil over medium heat in a 5qt soup pot.  Add fennel, onion, and garlic, season with a dash of salt, saute about 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes, broth and vegetable juice, herbs, bay leaves carrot, potato and orzo, salt and pepper.  Stir ingredients to make sure none are sticking to bottom. Heat to boil and reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally or until vegetables are near tender.  (NOTE: fennel takes the longest to soften).  Add zucchini and simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.  Enjoy.
This recipe is merely a guideline depending on what you have on hand.  Maybe you will come up with a new family favorite. I'd love to hear what bit of wonderfulness you create!

Italian Vegetable Soup