CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Soup’s on in January

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Soup’s not really my thing.

Don’t hate.

Maybe the word soup conjures leftover vegetables I didn’t like in a too-thin red liquid with little flavor beyond salt.

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I know. I know. Soup is also potato and cheese, French onion, thick chowder and, in some circles, our beloved Cajun gumbo. Those are all different stories. If the soup is like that, count me in.

Bone broth and vegetable broth are trendy again and help develop your flavor. Every culture has a soup. Too often American soup is uninspired vegetable or chicken noodle from a can. If we’re branching out, I’m in.

January is National Soup Month. I’m headed to the kitchen for egg drop.

Pasta night could be your 2020 thing

If you don’t already have a weekly pasta night, start it up in 2020. You’ll want to both cook and eat one of everything in this new book.

Locally sourced ingredients help Nikki Marie “elevate” the way we think of pasta. Nothing at all wrong with red sauce, white sauce and olive oil toppings, but it’s easy to create a low-cost version of some pasta dish that would have people standing in line and spending whole paychecks at a restaurant.

Are you ready for this? “Simple, Elegant Pasta Dinners” offers 75 dishes with “inspired” sauces.

Toasted pasta with fried egg is easy for real. Lentils absorb flavor of garlic and wine, and ending it all with a serving of rigatoni with dark cocoa and red wine short rib Ragu is within your reach. Tip: Save that pasta water to finish a sauce or reconstitute pasta that has been left out too long.

This might sound like crazy talk to some, but stick with her. Photo spreads will convince you. Recipes are arranged seasonally for freshest ingredients.

Your first Pumpkin Update of 2020 I’m getting from this book: Fresh Pumpkin Pappardelle with Browned Rosemary Butter sounds “different” but great (based on my own holiday experiment with a 25 cent post-Thanksgiving pumpkin and some chipotle cream sauce that came into my possession).

Some other ingredients you may have overlooked with thinking of a simple and elegant pasta dish? Nikki Marie gives you license to play with:

  • roasted red grapes
  • purple cabbage
  • apples
  • caramelized blood oranges
  • parsnips
  • salami
  • fave beans
  • peas and mint, and
  • strawberries, blackberries and plums.

Let’s go pasta with Marie, who is creator of the food blog Chasing the Seasons.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie ready for a bowl of soup, gumbo, pasta, ice cream. … Keep it coming. Reach her at