Momma’s Winter Soup

Dec 29, 2013

photo (15)winter soupThrowing together last minute meals takes years of practice. My mom is a genius at it—especially hearty winter soups with ripe vegetables that need to be put to good use. She will never let good food go to waste. As a young girl growing up in Sicily, even having meat for dinner was a rarity. The only time the family had meat for dinner was when a wandering chicken met its fate on the railroad tracks—the kids would be ecstatic! Needless to say, she grew up to appreciate having food on the table and how to make a meal out of anything.

Serves 8-10

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4 celery stalks
3 carrots
3 medium zucchini
4 medium russet potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lentils, rinsed
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano, and basil seasoning
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
½ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Crostini (optional)

Dice vegetables and potatoes into one-inch pieces.
Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium-high flame. When hot, sauté onions until golden, adding the vegetables, potatoes, and salt; sauté an additional 10 minutes. Toss occasionally to prevent ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add lentils, diced tomatoes, and 5 cans of warm water (my mom uses the empty tomato can).  Bring to a boil and mix in bouillon cubes; reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour, mixing occasionally. Stir in parsley, adjust for salt, and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
Transfer pot to a cool burner, puree ingredients coarsely using a hand blender, then return to warm burner to simmer an additional 5 minutes; add pepper, mix and let rest 15 minutes. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and broken crostini pieces in individual soup bowls. (By the way, when my mom prepares these wonderful soups, they are usually just the primo piatto!)

You can find more of Marinella and her recipes at her blog,

Explore and learn about her cookbook You Never Grow Old at the Dinner Table






Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena