SIZZLE SIMMER SAUTÉ–Winter warm up: hearty soups take the chill off the season

Jennifer Alexander Ruple

Check out all of my recipes from The Sylvania AdVantage HERE.

Come in from the cold and enjoy a big bowl of steaming hot soup. What better way is there to warm up those bones after a day of outdoor play? Whether you enjoy walking or snowshoeing in our local parks, building a backyard snowman or ice skating on a nearby pond, you cannot go wrong with soup to thaw out icy fingers and toes.

Try Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup or Lasagna Soup – both are excellent choices to serve for lunch, dinner, or even as a snack during our typical northwest Ohio winter days. 

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

A mixture of fresh mushrooms sets up the flavor profile in this soup. Paired with tender shredded chicken, delicate thyme leaves and mini potato gnocchi, this winter warm-up is hearty, earthy and so delicious. Servings: 6

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds mixed mushrooms, roughly torn
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine or broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Parmesan rind
  • 16-ounce box mini potato gnocchi
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half

In a large pot over high heat, heat olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir and continue cooking until the mushrooms have caramelized, 3-5 minutes.

Reduce heat and add garlic, butter, 1 tablespoon of thyme and the lemon zest. Cook until butter has melted and garlic is fragrant. 

Add chicken, onion, carrots, broth, wine, the remaining thyme, the bay leaves, paprika, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan rind and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 20 – 25 minutes.

Remove the chicken and shred it using two forks.

Return the soup to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi, grated Parmesan and half-and-half. Cook, stirring occasionally until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves and Parmesan rind. Stir the chicken back into the soup.

Divide the soup among six bowls and top with thyme and Parmesan.

(Recipe adapted from Tieghan Gerard’s Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, 2019)

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna lovers of all ages will adore this soup. It’s loaded with fresh herbs – oregano, thyme, basil and parsley; crumbled Italian sausage; and flat, ribbon-shaped Mafalda pasta. This pasta is smaller than traditional lasagna noodles, making it easier to scoop up with a spoon. Look for them at Sofo’s Italian Market on Monroe Street. Servings: 8 – 10

  • 12 ounces Mafalda or Mafaldine pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, minced
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound mild or spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup white wine or stock
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

Ricotta Dumplings

  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon basil, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Break the Mafalda into smaller pieces. Cook the pasta about 1 minute less than the package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano and thyme and cook, stirring until onion starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the beef, sausage, salt and pepper. Sauté until the meat is fully cooked, breaking it up as you go, about 5 minutes. Drain off at least half of the grease.

Add the tomato paste. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Add wine and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any flavorful little bits. Add the tomatoes with juice, stock, and parsley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. 

Pour in cream and stir to combine. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes while making the ricotta dumplings.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. 

To serve, top bowls of soup with extra parsley and a dollop or two of the ricotta mixture.

(Recipe adapted from Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks, The New Frontier, 2019)

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