Now that it’s autumn, the temperatures are dropping which makes it the perfect time to cook a rich, delicious Italian soup. Italian chefs love to use tomatoes, squash, pumpkin, mushrooms and other seasonal vegetables when whipping up hearty soups. Below are some recipes that utilize these ingredients to their full potential, creating a flavorful, hot bowl of goodness. Be sure to serve it with crusty Italian country bread and a drizzle of olive oil or a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Once you cozy up with one of these recipes, you will certainly start to embrace the chilly season.
Italian Onion Soup
5 sweet medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp flour
1 cup dry white wine
3 to 4 cups rich beef broth
salt and pepper
4 to 6 slices day old crusty Italian bread
4 to 6 slices mozzarella
¼ cup Parmigiano
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy saucepan and add onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until they are soft and golden brown, about 15 min. Add flour and mix well. Add wine and reduce by half. Add broth and cook for about 20 min, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
Spoon into individual ovenproof bowls and top each with a slice of bread topped with the mozzarella and Parmigiano. Place under the broiler until golden and bubbly. Serve hot.
Acorn Squash Soup
3 whole acorn squash, about 8 cups when cooked
6 shallots, 1 cup diced, 3 left whole and peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tbsp olive oil, plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper, freshly cracked, plus more for seasoning
1 stick unsalted butter
4 cups chicken stock
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tsp sage, dry
1 tsp savory
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash in half on the equator and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut a flat spot on each end so the squash will sit flat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the squash, cut side up. To 3 of the squash halves, add a peeled shallot and to the other 3, add 2 garlic cloves on each. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with 1 tbsp of the salt and freshly cracked pepper. Roast in hot oven until very tender until they start to caramelize and collapse, approximately 1 hour. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove squash from the skin. Reserve roasted shallots and garlic with the squash. (Can be done ahead).
In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of butter over medium-high heat and when the butter is starting to foam, add the raw, diced shallots and sauté until they are starting to caramelize, about 5 to 6 min. Deglaze with ½ cup of chicken stock and stir to remove any fond. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in reserved squash, roasted shallots and garlic and then remaining chicken stock. Stir to combine, then puree with a stick blender. The mixture will be very thick. Add in cayenne, white pepper and herbs. Stir in the cream and Worcestershire sauce and heat slowly over medium-low heat.
Kale and Lentil Soup
8 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups red lentils, rinsed
2 onions, diced
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped then measured
zest ½ lemon
Add the vegetable broth, lentils, carrots, onions, kale and garlic to a large pot. Bring to a boil and let cook until the lentils are tender (about 15-20 min). Stir in the red pepper flakes, parsley and lemon zest. Serve and enjoy.
Wild Mushroom Soup with Herbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
1 1/2 lbs mixed Porcini and Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or brown rice flour
5 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped sage
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms, stirring occasionally for 7 minutes or until very soft.
Add the red wine vinegar and cook for 2 min. Sprinkle with flour and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Gradually add the stock and simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the soup thickens slightly. Add the sage, thyme and paprika.
Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pasta e Ceci – Chickpea Soup with Pasta
1 ½ cups dried chickpeas
½ tsp baking soda
1 large garlic clove, unpeeled, plus 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk with leaves
1 small fresh rosemary sprig
1 lb fresh tagliatelle, cut into three inch long strips
2 tsp fine sea salt, plus more, to taste
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz pancetta, finely diced
2 Tbs tomato paste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
Rinse chickpeas and place in a bowl. Add cold water to cover by 3 inches. Stir in the baking soda. Let stand for 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
In a large saucepan, combine the chickpeas, unpeeled garlic clove, the celery rib, rosemary and 7 cups water. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer; cover partially and cook until the chickpeas are tender, about 1 ½ hours, then remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the 2 tsp. sea salt and let the chickpeas stand for 5 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic clove, celery and rosemary. Transfer 1 cup of the chickpeas to a small bowl and mash them with a fork or potato masher. Return them to the pot and stir to combine.
In a frying pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté until golden brown (about 3 minutes). Stir in the minced garlic. Reduce the heat to low and sauté until the garlic is softened (about 1 minute). Add the tomato paste and ½ cup of the chickpea cooking liquid and stir well.
Add the pancetta mixture to the chickpeas, set the pot over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Add the pasta and cook until the tagliatelle is al dente for only about 2 minutes; it will continue to cook in the heat of the soup. Season with sea salt and pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.
Creamy Porcini Chestnut Soup
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small onion, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Porcini mushrooms cleaned and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 pound fresh chestnuts, boiled, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 to 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt & pepper
sautéed pancetta and chopped chestnuts
chopped fresh herbs and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the celery, onion and carrot and cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook another couple of minutes until the garlic releases its aroma. Add the chestnuts and 4 cups of broth and simmer over medium low heat for about 30 minutes, adding additional broth if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Cool for 15 minutes and then puree until thick and smooth. Serve warm with garnish of choice.
Tuscan Chicken Soup
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp tomato paste
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz) can low sodium chicken broth
1 (7 oz) bottle roasted red bell peppers, rinsed, drained and cut into ½ in pieces
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 (6 oz) package fresh baby spinach
8 tsp grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Combine first 9 ingredients in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook 3 hours. Stir in rosemary and spinach; cover and cook on low for 10 minutes.
Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with cheese