Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Heart"y Soup

My husband has a very special relationship with his paternal grandmother. Ever since he was a very young boy he has always been extremely close with Maw Maw. Forrest has a distinct place in his heart for his Maw Maw and rightfully so. She is an amazing woman who has led a very interesting life. Amidst her many talents she has a penchant for writing. Even well into her 80's she continues to enroll in college writing courses to exercise her skill. Over Forrest's lifetime, Maw Maw has penned several hand written letters to him. These letters are among Forrest's most prized possessions. When we were home for Christmas he cleaned out his childhood closet at his parent's home and discarded a ton of unnecessary notes and letters from buddies, high school crushes and grade school girlfriends. But he made sure to hold on to every last note from his Maw Maw. All of them 100% grammatically correct and written in perfect penmanship on unlined stationary without the slightest tilt in the lines. Handwritten letters are so rare these days in the times of email, text messages and social networking. Forrest does not take for granted how lucky he is to have so many personalized archives from someone he loves so dearly.

One of the most recent letters that Forrest received from Maw Maw was last Valentines Day. Maw Maw sent Forrest a goodie bag last February that contained a handwritten letter that offered some marital advice and some items for him to use in the kitchen. One of these items was a bag of heart shaped pasta. I came across the left overs of this pasta last week and was reminded of the special letter that accompanied the pasta. It was the perfect amount to use in this recipe and it was the perfect excuse for Forrest to remember that special letter from his Maw Maw.

Sausage and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light

4 servings

  • 1/2 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 8 ounces 50% less fat pork sausage (such as Jimmy Dean)
  • 2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup uncooked small shell pasta
  • 2 cups bagged baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil to the pan. Add onion to the pan and cook until translucent. Add sausage, garlic, pepper, salt and red pepper to pan, and cook about 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.

Add broth, tomatoes, and pasta to pan,

and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is done. Remove from heat; stir in spinach

until wilted.

Sprinkle each serving with cheese and basil.

This soup was very tasty. It was hearty without being heavy and full of flavor. This soup was extremely easy to make and could be whipped up quickly on any cold winter night. I think the entire recipe from start to finish only took about 30 minutes.


Spryte said...

That's so sweet. And a great recipe too!

Gabriela said...

Awwww, the tears are welling up in my eyes as a result of your sweet missive. The soup looks delicious despite the tears. How could I close without commenting on your superb photography, composition, focus, and lighting? So inspiring!

natalie said...

awww...that is an amazing story! i too was incredibly close to my grandmother and she passed away before i even met my husband.
thanks for sharing the story, and the recipe! the soup looks great!

Krista said...

Beautiful story and a beautiful soup!

Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks like a delicious soup. What a great way to combine memories!

Untypically Jia said...

My mouth is totally watering right now! Yum!

BMK said...

What a sweet story! This soup looks delicious.

Joelen said...

This is definitely a gorgeous bowl of soup!!

Donna-FFW said...

Wonderful story!! Soup looks absolutely perfect!! Especially now in this chilly NJ weather!!

Woody said...

Very good story. It made me think of all the times I went to South Louisiana to Maw Maw's house, I would ride horses, play in the barn, build stuff with the horse trainer and eat some good food. Maw Maw always had a freezer full of ice cream and Paw Paw would take me to get donuts in town for breakfast. Ask a kid what more could I want then donuts and ice cream. Thanks for the story B. I hope our grand kids get the same experience we did from our grandparents.

breedwoman said...

This looks so good, i wish i had heart pasta! but i'll make due with something else... i just LOVE your blog and all the pictures so i gave you an award!

Paula said...

I loved reading the story about your husband's Maw-Maw.

Your recipe looks very tasty. I will have to try it.

calicodaisy said...

That looks warm and cozy!

Aunt Linda said...

I was with Maw Maw this weekend and she relayed this story to me and shared memories of Forrest and his childhood at her house. Thanks for reminding her and us of the wonderful times she spent with her grandson.
Luv to Forrest and Elizabeth, you bring much joy to a MawMaw's life,
Luv, Aunt Linda

Adrienne said...

Fantastic recipe. Very tasty. I think we'll probably cut back on the basil next time, but very very tasty.

Kenya said...

Hello Elizabeth. I just wanted to post some feedback about your heart-y soup. I made it for dinner tonight and it was fabulous. Very easy, most of the ingredients I had on hand, however it was still budget friendly. It was everything you said it was and more, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I live alone and, at times have difficulty finding meals that I enjoy having for leftovers for a few days. I didn't have heart pasta but I had some ditalini that I needed to use up, still it was perfect. The garlic bread I had with it just sent it over the flavor charts (:

Again, thank you so very much for sharing this recipe. I can't wait to try the Corn, Crawfish and Andouille Chowder one day...it's got my name written all over it.

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