Tag Archives: soup

Simple Recipe #20: An Italian Version Of Caldo De Res (Mexican Beef Soup)

Making soup from scratch sounds intimidating but you’ll be surprised by the simplicity of this recipe.   Caldo de Res is a hearty Mexican beef and vegetable soup.  We didn’t look up the recipe so my husband put an Italian spin to it by adding red wine, olive oil and peperoncino to the broth.

All you need is:

Beef Shanks ( 4 -5 pieces or 1 pound)

Russet Potatoes (cubed)


Cabbage (1/2 a head)

White corn ( whole, cut in halves; optional but I highly recommend it)

Yellow zucchini (very optional)


Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Peperoncino (I think the standard recipe calls for cumin?)

Red Wine

And all you have to do is:

1 ) Season the beef shank with salt and pepper. In a large pot, add olive oil and sauté the beef shank on both sides.  Add enough water to fill about half the pot.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Add potatoes, carrots, corn and cabbage.  Cover with lid and let simmer for another hour.

2 ) Remove lid, stir, and simmer for another hour with lid off.  We added zucchini at this later stage because it doesn’t require much cooking.  You can also add cabbage at this point if you prefer.  Just before eating, add chopped cilantro.

Tip:  To make this dish last, on the 2nd or 3rd night, add arborio rice and/or Spanish beans to the pot and simmer some more.  These additions make the soup more filling and tricks those who hate leftovers into thinking that it’s a new dish altogether. We also grated parmigiano on top for an even more Italian spin.

Simple Recipe #14: Pasta and Ceci Bean Soup

We’re so used to canned soups that making it from scratch seems like too much of a chore.  However, a pasta with ceci bean soup is fairly easy to prepare and lasts for days.  It’s a healthy soup that is full of flavor, too.   This pot lasted three nights, which is a bit much if you get affected by gas issues (is that too much information?)


Yellow Onion (1)

White Wine

Ceci or chick peas / garbanzo beans (2 cans)

Pasta  (a corkscrew shape such as Fusilli or Rotini)

Beef Bouillon

Fresh Sage

Fresh rosemary

Fresh garlic clove (1 – 2)

Pancetta (optional)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1 ) Chop onions and sauté in a large pot. This is the pot where you will make the soup.

2 ) Add white wine to the onions and cook until wine evaporates.  If you have pancetta, sauté until fully cooked. Sauté a clove or two of chopped garlic.

3 ) Once the onions are browned, add in enough water to fill half of the pot.  Heat the water and add in a spoon or two of beef bouillon.  Add in chopped sage leaves and a branch of rosemary. 

4 ) In the meantime, open one can of Ceci or garbanzo beans and put it into a food processor.  Add salt, pepper and olive oil and purée.  You want to create a creamy bean purée.  Add this purée to the large pot.

5 ) Add a cup and half of pasta to the large pot.  Also add in the other can of Ceci beans.  Cook for another 5 minutes or until pasta and beans are cooked.  (I confess: I did not pay as much attention here so I don’t know the exact cooking time, but this is something you can taste for done-ness).

6 ) Salt and pepper to taste.

Oxtail Soup With Red Cabbage And Potatoes

Who doesn’t love a warm hearty meat soup on a cold California night?  Oxtail might be too strange of an ingredient for most but it’s been a favorite of mine since childhood.  It’s not super common in Italy, at least not in my husband’s region. He says that it is a popular ingredient in Rome. 

Normally we used regular green cabbage but the market was out of these.  Red cabbage works just as well and has a more delicate flavor. It also didn’t stink up the house as much! 

My husband braises the oxtail first before adding it to a large pot of water.  Then he adds in the chopped potatoes, chopped cabbage, salt, pepper and selected herbs (like rosemary).  You cook it over low heat for a few hours.  Let it sit for a few hours before serving.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and some parmigiano for extra flavor.

We got two dinners out of this and a delicious broth that was perfect for risotto last night.