My mom told me a story the other day over a soup I made that reminded her of being a little girl. The soup I made for the family and took over to my parents place reminded me of being a little girl, how much I hated it when mom made that soup and how much I crave it now as a grown up (or at least most days I am). It also reminds me of the first time I threw up because I think it was what we had for dinner that night….. which could also explain why I hated it so much.
Anyhow my mom came from a home where Mondays there was a little more food in the house and come Friday, dinners were made with whatever was left from the week. Hence soup made from fresh ingredients straight from the garden, to the cutting board and into a pot into what her mother called “Manestra” or as most know it as “Minestrone.” Like me mom didn’t like the soup all that much though for entirely different reasons, her mom put in many of the ingredients below, celery, carrots as well as cabbage all from the garden. Sometimes there were other additions to the soup which my mom and her sisters discovered on their own like noticing that celery when chopped looks like caterpillars and sometimes that spoonful of celery really wasn’t a spoonful of celery, it ended up being a spoonful of caterpillars thus beginning my mom’s distaste for the soup which as time passed on became a soup that became a reminder of home, being a little kid and being with her mom, dad and siblings.
And so I learn of this tale over a warm bowl of my own version of the soup, greatly enjoyed and has now nestled a little corner of my heart where I have warm loving thoughts of being a kid, sharing in our heritage, memories of my mom and nana all wrapped into one cozy and delicious package.
Happy Eating and Enjoy
Caterpillar Soup (Minestrone Soup)
Kitchen Gadgets required: Stove/hot plate, large pot, cutting surface, and knife, can opener, grater (unless cheese is purchased grated and a vegetable peeler if you have one.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to your “heat” preference)
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 medium sized onions chopped
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 1 medium parsnip chopped
- 2 celery ribs chopped
- 2 small-medium sized zucchini diced (I took the “skin” off too)
- 2 stems fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can of 9 bean mixture (I used great value) rinsed
- 1 15 oz can of Alymyer Italian Stewed or diced tomatoes
- 2 boxes of Campbells Organic Vegetable Soup Stock
- 2 cups shell type pasta
- Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- Flakey Butter Buns
Heat the large soup pot over med-high heat add Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 2 tbs) red pepper flakes, garlic, onions, carrots, parsnip, celery, cook until they start to go soft about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, add rosemary, bay leaf and zucchini until they soften. Add the beans, tomatoes and stock, put on the soup lid & bring to a bubble.
Cook soup for 8 minutes @ a rolling simmer add the pasta and cook until el dente’ (approx 7 minutes). Remove pot from heat, take out rosemary twigs (leaves will have fallen off while cooking) and bay leaf.
Ladle into soup bowls and serve with flakey buns and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Serves 5 with seconds and maybe thirds.
*optional – cook the soup with the rind of fresh parmesan cheese to create a cheesy taste, remove prior to serving.