Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup with Asiago Cheese Bread

mushroom soup

When the weather turns with cooler temps the first thing I always want to make is a big pot of soup. This cream of wild mushroom soup is surprisingly easy to make, it’s comforting and cozy and has a rich complex flavor.

wild mushrooms

It’s made with a mix of wild and cremini mushrooms, some of which I purchased at an Asian market. By the way did you know that specialty mushrooms bought at an Asian market are a fraction of the cost that you would pay in a regular supermarket? So when I go I usually buy a bunch.

For this soup I combined cremini with oyster, king oyster, shiitake and brown beech. Using a mix of some of the wild varieties results in an earthy depth of flavor that would rival any gourmet soup, but honestly if you can’t find them just go with cremini as opposed to the white button mushrooms you see everywhere.

simmered mushrooms

Fresh thyme, shallots and garlic are the base for this soup with added broth for the mushrooms to soak up the flavors while they’re simmering in the pot.

mushroom soup

This soup is rich and elegant and can be served as a first course, a fantastic lunch or light dinner served with my cheesy Asiago toast.

pot of mushroom soup

There’s just a small amount of heavy cream swirled in at the end of cooking, it’s optional but I would highly recommend using it because it makes the soup exceptional!

For a nice presentation roast off some of the mushrooms and set aside to use for garnishing the top.

mushroom soup

This creamy wild mushroom soup can be a go to week night meal or fancy enough to serve during the upcoming holidays, and it only takes around a half hour to pull it together. It stays well in the fridge so it can be made a day or two ahead of time, then just heat it up and garnish!

cheese bread

If you need a little crunch factor on the side,

Spilt a baguette in half, drizzle with olive oil and place into a 400 degree oven just until it starts to get golden, then pull it out and spread shredded Asiago cheese all over with fresh chopped parsley or other herbs of your choice, then place under a broiler until it all melts.

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Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup with Asiago cheese Bread
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ to 2 lbs. mushrooms, a mix of wild along with cremini ( if unable to find wild mushrooms you can use all cremini) chopped.
  • additional mushrooms set aside for garnish that have been pre-roasted
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane
  • broth, chicken or veggie, enough to cover the top of the sautéed mushrooms ( I used a little over a quart)
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • parsley and thyme
  • ¼ cup heavy cream ( optional but highly recommended!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a stock pot add a knob of butter and a drizzle of olive oil to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add in the chopped shallots and garlic. Cook until they soften a bit.
  3. Add the chopped mushrooms, salt, pepper and fresh thyme.
  4. Cook mushroom mix until they soften up and all the flavors meld, around 15 minutes.
  5. Next, pour in enough broth to cover the top of the mushrooms.
  6. Bring to a slow boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for around 20-30 minutes.
  7. Use an immersion blender to whiz it up right in the pot to reach the texture you like, it will thicken up as you're doing this.
  8. Swirl in the cream, tasting and adjusting for seasoning, adding more thyme, salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the roasted reserved mushrooms, chopped parsley and thyme.
  10. Enjoy!

 

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Italian Wedding Soup with Escarole and Mini Meatballs

Italian wedding soup

Soup season is here and there’s nothing more comforting than coming in from the cold and warming up to a nice big steamy hot bowl of homemade soup, it’s good for the soul and good for the senses.

Certain soups evoke memories of the past and this is the one for me, Italian wedding soup. As a kid I just called it meatball soup, what kid doesn’t love cheesy flavored meatballs and teeny tiny pasta floating around in a big bowl!

There are so many versions of Italian wedding soup some by adding or subtracting different ingredients, and over the years I’ve even done that myself but the one thing that is constant and stays the same are those tiny little meatballs.

turkey meatballs

Flavoring up your meatballs is the key to this recipe, I’m talking garlic, onions, egg, parsley and a very healthy dose of grated pecorino romano cheese, you could also choose to add breadcrumbs but I don’t, I think it makes the tiny meatballs too dense, in my opinion you get a much lighter meatball without it. Just make them ahead of time so they’re ready to go.

My preferred meat to use is either ground turkey or chicken, since I’m using a chicken stock as the base anyway it makes sense. Also, when I’m making it from scratch I’ll shred up some of the chicken and add it into the soup as well.

chicken stock

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the kind of girl who always has homemade stock in the freezer, I don’t always have the time and patience but I admire those that do. I think it’s because I like my broth to look nice and clear so I have to strain it a couple of times to get to that point. It does require some patience and time but it’s truly worth it if you do it.

I do however have a well stocked pantry of organic, low sodium boxed broth. Word of advice, if you’re going to make this with your homemade stock, do it ahead of time and have it ready to go.

In this recipe I used a combination of both, I do like the enriched flavor that the simmering homemade stock gives the soup plus I like to add in some of that shredded chicken anyway, so it’s a win win situation, but I always make such a large amount and I never have enough stock so I’m always adding my good quality, store bought stock into the mix.

So you can use all homemade stock, a combination of both or all good quality store bought. Trust me there’s so many flavors that mingle together, either way it all works out in the end.

Italian wedding soup ingredients

I also used escarole as my choice of greens but any hearty green will do, kale, chard or spinach as well. My favorite pasta to use is acini di pepe, little round and couscous shaped, but again any small pasta of your choice will do. True confession, I never boil my pasta in the broth of the soup, I don’t like it when the pasta blows up and gets mushy, so in my house it’s always cooked on the side.

Then one last essential ingredient is cheese rinds. Have you ever used them before? Save all your cheese rinds of parmigiano or pecorino, but make sure some of the cheese is still attached because when thrown into your soup the rind will soften and the flavors of the cheese will infuse throughout the soup, it’s magic!

making soup

Then it’s a matter of sautéing your veggies, adding the broth and cheese rind and letting that simmer until the rind starts to melt.

meatballs

Add in your cooked meatballs  and shredded chicken and the very last thing is your greens.

Italian wedding soupItalian wedding soup

Add some of your cooked pasta into the bowls and ladle all that goodness on top, then sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese and a quick drizzle of olive oil.

Italian wedding soupItalian wedding soup

It’s hearty, healthy and made with love, true comfort food!

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Italian Wedding Soup with Escarole and Mini Meatballs
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 quart boxes of good quality stock in combination with homemade stock
  • 2 chicken breasts, bone in skin on, cooked in the homemade stock, cooled and shredded
  • MEATBALLS
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • ½ small onion and 2 garlic cloves grated on a microplane
  • ½ cup, grated pecorino cheese
  • a handfull chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • SOUP
  • 1 heaping cup each of chopped carrots, onions and celery
  • 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • 1 big bunch escarole, chopped or greens of your choice
  • 1 or 2 cheese rinds (with some cheese attached)
  • parsley
  • PASTA
  • 1½ cups dry small pasta like acini di pepe, cooked according to package then rinsed with cold water and set aside in a container
Instructions
  1. I used a combination of home made stock and good quality store bought.
  2. For the homemade stock I used;
  3. bone in skin on chicken breasts with enough water in the pot to cover, about 2 quarts, then add ½ onion or leek, 1 carrot, 1 celery, 3 garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Simmer until the chicken starts to fall off the bone.
  5. When stock is finished remove breasts let them cool and shred the chicken. Also strain the broth really good either with a fine mesh strainer or through cheesecloth until it's nice and clear.
  6. For the MEATBALLS mix together, turkey, egg, garlic, onion, parsley, pecorino, salt and pepper until nice and incorporated.
  7. Roll into small 1 inch balls, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and into a 375F oven for 15 minutes, you can do this a day or two ahead. (You can also cook them stove top.) Prepped and ready to go.
  8. In a big heavy bottomed stock pot drizzle the bottom with olive oil and a dab of butter.
  9. Add all the veggies to the pot, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, when softened pour in your 2 quarts of stock and the homemade stock which might be an additional quart or 2.
  10. When stock is hot add in your cheese rinds and then simmer partially covered.
  11. When you see the rind start melting and cheese bits start to fall off, stir and taste for seasoning and adjust.
  12. Add in your cooked chicken and all the cooked meatballs and some fresh chopped parsley.
  13. Continue simmering.
  14. Remove rinds and add in all the chopped escarole or other greens of your choice.
  15. Stir and turn off the heat.
  16. To serve grab a bowl, add some cooked pasta if so desired, ladle the finished soup on top, making sure to get a little bit of everything.

 

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Ricotta Dumplings in Broth

It’s still winter out there, in fact as I write this I’m looking at snowflakes falling. To me, there’s nothing like a bowl of hot steamy soup to warm me up, and this one fits the bill. Not only is it quick to make, providing you have all the ingredients, but it’s also very healthy and light, there’s not one bit of flour in these dumplings!

Cheesy ricotta dumplings flavored with fresh parsley, parmesan cheese and a hint of garlic bathing in a bowl of broth, doesn’t that sound good? You can even use a veggie broth if you like, and maybe even add a few fresh spinach leaves right into your bowl for extra color and flavor.

Heres the recipe:
Adapted from a 1998 La Cucina Italiana magazine
1 pound ricotta
3 cloves of minced garlic
Italian parsley minced
1 cup bread crumbs
7 ounces of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 eggs
12 cups of good chicken broth, homemade or store bought, plus extra for cooking dumplings in.

Combine the first 6 ingredients into a bowl, make sure everything is incorporated. Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into cherry tomato sized balls, set aside. This recipe gives you at least 24 to 30 ricotta balls.

These little dumplings tend to puff up so try not to overcrowd them like I did in the photo above, otherwise they might hit each other and break up a bit. Simmer slowly in some of the extra hot broth until they’re cooked through. They rise to the top and double in size when they’re done.
The reason I like to cook my dumplings first separately in some of the extra broth, is because in case a dumpling breaks, or tiny pieces of dumpling break off it won’t cloud up all your broth, I think it just looks visually better that way.
Then carefully take them out with a slotted spoon, place as many cooked dumplings you want in their individual bowls and ladle some of the existing 12 cups of broth you have preserved, so the 12 cups should be enough to cover the 24-30 dumplings you will make, and you’ll need at least an extra 4 cups to pre-cook your dumplings in.
Enjoy and Buon Appetito!
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SAUSAGE AND LENTIL SOUP!!

Today was in the 50’s, a little windy, and a perfect day for a pot of soup! This is one of my favorites, because the flavors go so good together.

There’s something so comforting about a big pot of soup simmering on the stove on a cold day!

I have to admit, I’m all about modern conveniences ONLY if the quality is good, and If your lucky enough to have a Trader Joes in your neighborhood and haven’t tried their box stocks please do! They make life so much easier! I know you can also pick these up in any local store now, these boxed stocks are everywhere. I just like Trader Joes cause their prices are so good! Their pre-cooked lentils are fantastic too, already cooked, you just cut open the bag and pour them in. How easy is that!!! So you can whip up a great meal in no time, that tastes like its been simmering all day!!
Heres what you’ll need

1 carrot diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 onion chopped
1 lb. of Italian sausage, hot or mild ( I used Turkey Italian sausage it works great!)
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 14.5oz. can of fire roasted tomato’s
1t. ground fennel
1t.thyme
1t. oregano
S&P to taste along with some red pepper flakes
1 box or 2 cups of dry lentils ( I use more)
6 to 8 cups of chicken stock ( 2 boxes)
In a nice pot brown your sausage and drain, with the Turkey I didn’t have to. Then put some olive oil in the bottom and saute veggies and garlic. Open up the stock, pour that in, along with all the spices and lentils, stir it up, semi cover it and let it cook for about 1/2 hour. It will be longer if you are using dry lentils.
When it’s done I take an immersion blender to one side of the pot to thicken it up a little.
I usually double the recipe because it freezes good

Top it off with shaved Parm and a drizzle of olive oil!
Buon Appetito!!

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