If you haven’t figured it out yet…I’m not much of a cook. Oh sure, I can follow a recipe and even pull a good meal out of whatever I can find in the refrigerator….but I really don’t like to cook. So, I’m always looking for an easy way out of cooking – real simple recipes that are sort of homemade. The other day, I was perusing the Wall Street Journal and saw a recipe for “Smashed Pumpkin Soup with Mascarpone” and decided to make it a bit simpler…considering I had no pumpkin in the house, no San Marzano tomatoes (what in the heck are they?), nor any Mascarpone (which I had to look up to find out it was a fresh cheese). Surprisingly, I actually DID have a bottle of whole fennel (I have no idea how long that unopened bottle of spice had been in my cupboard, but it still had flavor). So, here’s my version of what turned out to be a very tasty (and simple) soup:
- Heat 3Tbsp of crushed garlic (from the jar) and 1tsp of crushed fennel with 2Tbsp olive oil
- Add a 14oz can of Italian Stewed Tomatoes and then cook for awhile (the recipe said 8 minutes, but I had the wrong kind of tomatoes, so who knows…)
- Stir in a butternut squash and 3 medium potatoes (both peeled and cubed)
- Cover with about 3 cups chicken broth (I used the bouillon cubes)
- Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Then, simmer for about 40 minutes or until vegetables are done.
- Add one 15.5oz can of small white beans. Warm thoroughly.
- Then, mash the soup until you get a chunky (not smooth) consistency.
- Feel free to garnish with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese (or whatever else is in your refrigerator
It’s amazing how you can substitute three of the seven ingredients and still come up with a darn good product. Though I still hope John will go to chef school someday…