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    Italian Rice Soup

    January 10, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    Do Italians actually eat rice? It seems the name of this recipe begs that question, don’tcha think? Anyhow, that is what I named it, for lack of other inspiration. This recipe was, once again, born of desperation. We had canceled Daughter Q’s fifth birthday party {again}, and with it went the party food for lunch, and the leftovers I had planned on serving for dinner.

    Plus I was running out of food.

    In my freezer and pantry I had things like rice and homemade chicken stock and spinach. So here is what I made:

    Italian Rice Soup

    • 1.5 cups white rice, rinsed {gasp! white rice!}
    • 20oz diced tomatoes {I used a bunch frozen, peeled whole tomatoes I had in my freezer, leftover from my grandfather’s garden…but I think this was equal to about one large can of tomatoes}
    • 1 lb. Italian sausage
    • .25-.5 cups wine {whatever you have on hand and open…it’s optional}
    • 3 qt. chicken broth {more if you plan to serve it again the next day leftover–you’ll have to add up to another quart to get it soupy again}
    • 1 head spinach, rinsed, de-stemmed, and chopped
    • 1 onion
    • 1-2 Tbs. minced garlic
    • 2 tsp. dried parsley
    • 1 tsp. oregano
    • 1 tsp. basil
    • 1/4 tsp. thyme
    • 1/2 tsp. savory
    • salt and pepper to taste
    Throw everything in a giant soup kettle, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is soft. If you are fancy, you could saute your onions and garlic in melted butter or olive oil beforehand, but I wasn’t feeling fancy on this particular occasion.
    Other Tips
    • Chicken stock or broth is waaaaaay cheaper if you make it yourself. Just boil your chicken bones in water. Add vegetables if you like, but it isn’t necessary in a pinch.
    • I think that, in a hurry, you could probably omit the tomatoes, garlic, and spices {except salt and pepper} and use a big jar of spaghetti sauce instead. I haven’t done it, but it seemed possible to me. Of course, this would require you to actually have a jar in your pantry!
    • My husband is always bringing me home discounted packages of nitrite-free sausage in various flavors. Really, I think as long as it isn’t a flavor that clashes with Italian-type spices, it’d work. The one I used was actually a gourmet cheesy spinach flavor.
    • The sausage could be cooked whole in the oven and the cut into bite-sized pieces, or cut open and browned like ground beef {if it is uncooked}.

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  • Reply sara January 12, 2012 at 1:17 am

    Yeah, it’s how my dad says minestrone. 🙂

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    All these new words! 🙂

    Arancini is something I’d never heard of but sounds totally fabulous. I’ll have to give it a try sometime. I also don’t know what a minestra is! Is that somehow related to the word minestrone? I think I need a proper education in the cooking world! 🙂

  • Reply sara January 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Oh yes, we eat rice. Arancini are delicious.

    Nice soup – it like a minestra. Everyone’s got their own recipe for that and yours sounds really good.

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