Ready or not, fall is upon us. Rather than cringe and long for summer as it slips away, I chose to embrace each day as the unique day it is, whether it's summer, fall or wacky weather somewhere in between.
This time of year is magical. I love to get up each day and open the back door to see what surprises are on the other side. Some mornings it's strikingly cooler, some are just humid, others are foggy and dewy. Whatever the weather I enjoy watching the constant stream of squirrels that gather in my yard to pack out as many fallen pecans as they can. My dog, Henery, is especially fond of watching this from the window as well. When he isn't napping he's patrolling for squirrels.
In Texas the weather has cooled off a lot, but isn't what most would call cool. We are down from the 100- 90 degree days to a much more tolerable 80 degree high. I just love it and to me it is cool. It may not be cold and crisp just yet, but it's refreshing all the same. It puts me in the fall mood.
So of course this means bring on the soup!
Soups are excellent because they are so easy, adaptable and are an excellent way to use up small dabs of remaining ingredients. 1/4 jar of leftover pasta sauce? Pour it in. 1/2 of a carrot? A bowl of chickpeas? A handful of frozen peas? Fine, fine, fine. Whatever. In the soup they go. YUM!
This particular soup grew out of a pantry 'scraps' scenario and the abundance of herbs that flourish is my garden this time of year. So I loaded up on herbs, used pasta sauce as my soup base, threw in the veg I had on hand (some fresh, some frozen), and broke up some spaghetti to give it some noodle goodness.
Feel free to use canned tomatoes instead of pasta sauce, but if you have never used canned spaghetti sauce in a soup, give it a try some time. It's a remarkably handy way to boost flavor in an instant.
Easy Tuscan Vegetable Noodle Soup
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth
- 3 Tbls. finely minced seasonal herbs (I used rosemary, thyme, sage, basil & oregano)
- 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced
- 1/2 jar your favorite pasta sauce (I used Muir Glen tomato basil)
- 1/4 lb of spaghetti noodles broken into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup frozen corn (or frozen veg of your choosing)
- 1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained
- salt to taste
In a large dutch oven over medium heat, saute celery, onion & carrot with a few tablespoons of water for about 3-4 minutes or until they begin to soften
Add the garlic and briefly sauté, while stirring until fragrant
Add the water or broth
Stir in herbs, potatoes, pasta sauce, and noodles
Bring to a boil over high heat
Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is al dente and the potatoes are soft
Stir in chickpeas and frozen corn.
Salt to taste
Heat for 2-3 more minutes and serve warm, garnished with herbs
***Note: Add more water/broth as needed.