Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Turkey Soup with Noodles

This soup marks the end of Tom Turkey–well, almost, I still have some of that great turkey gravy in the freezer. There are biscuits and gravy in our future for sure, but tonight, it's Turkey Soup with homemade noodles. After defrosting the turkey stock and the bag of leftover cooked turkey, I just added some herbs, carrots, celery and noodles. In virtually no time at all, it was a soup. A simple, good tasting, nourishing soup.

Play dough for grown-ups
Initially I was going to just make my regular pappardelle noodles and cut them into short pieces, but wouldn't some other shape be more fun? And wouldn't a different shape of pasta just taste so much better too? Without an extruder however, options are somewhat limited. Without years of experience hand-shaping pasta at an Italian grandmother's side, my options dwindled even further. So, after making up a batch of my favorite go-to pasta recipe, I sort of followed the instructions found here for hand-shaping pasta. I say "sort of followed" because I off-roaded just a bit. Okay... I played. A lot. Try it yourself and see if you don't too.

Farfalle in my tummy
I attempted the twisty ones (Fusilli) and the rolled ones (Garganelli). I made some that ended up looking like those "awareness" ribbons people wear on their lapels (gluten awarenes?). I tried to make Orecchietti (little ears) but they were large, a bit creepy, and looked like dried apricot halves (anyone know the Italian for that?). I made a whole lot of Maltagliati ("badly cut"), but mine didn't even look that good. What ended up turning out pretty darned great looking (and easy) were Farfalle ("butterflies", aka: bow ties). Cut the dough into little rectangles, a quick pinch in the middle, and that's it! Butterflies... easy, fun, and cute to boot. Plus it's fun just to say Farfalle.

Turkey Soup with Noodles
adapted from pg. 216 of  Real Simple: Meals Made Easy (2006)

12 cups turkey stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
3 cups cooked turkey
fresh pasta (one handful per serving)

Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot. Add the thyme, carrots, and celery to the pot and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add a pinch or two of sea salt, then add the turkey and pasta to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes or so. When the pasta is fully cooked, add the black pepper. Taste the broth and add more salt if needed. Ladle into bowls and serve with crispy buttered toast. Makes 8 - 10 servings.

Notes: Homemade or fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried, but ultimately the timing depends on the thickness of the pasta. Check periodically by fishing one out and cutting it with a knife to test done-ness. After cooking, the Farfalle turned out to be rather large for eating in a soup. Next time I'm making itty-bitty-butterflies. Farfalliti? Hmm. The normal sized ones, I'll save for enjoying with a nice sauce.

Important! If you're planning on freezing the soup, omit the noodles. They'll turn to mush. When it's time to defrost and reheat the soup, either cook the noodles separately and add them to the warmed soup, or just cook them directly in the simmering soup until tender.

Extra Credit: Explore the side bar (on the left-side of this blog) and check out the link for "Which Sauce With Which Noodle" under Helpful Tools... it's a fun and handy chart for picking the right pasta shape.
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