When I was a child, my mother prepared a particular soup for which she became known. When she announced it for dinner, I would freeze, managing an internal shudder and doing my best to prepare my taste buds for the imminent assault.
In spite of the fact that I had the reputation of being a "chow hound" and having a "hollow leg" (I like to think of myself as a budding gourmand), there were a few menu items that provoked a range of gag reactions from me. Among them, Spanish rice, stuffed green peppers, fried liver and onions and ... Dibby Dab Soup.
"Dibby Dab Soup" my mother called it. I'm confident that every family has dish like this. Basically the recipe calls for taking a soup pot, opening the refrigerator and dumping anything that hasn't gone bad yet into said pot. Next, the freezer is opened and all the little packets of thisses and thats that were not enough to throw away (but apparently enough to save and freeze for the next incarnation of this concoction) are tossed in. Cover the mixture with water and bring to a boil. This allows the frozen bits to thaw and blend into the scenery before they can be indentified as not really suitable to have been added. Toss in a can of tomato sauce, a can of corn - always with the corn (la vache*!) - and voilà! Soup's on!
I do not recommend this soup. In fact, I left a comment - a humorous one, mind you - on a food blogger's post at the New York Times one day about my mother's specialty. Apparently another reader failed to see the humor in my slant because a comment was left directed at me in which the commenter proceeded to berate my views, calling into question whether my mother deserved such an ingrate for a daughter and adding something about my being too self-centered to appreciate my dear mother's efforts to
You can probably understand that I developed a healthy aversion to anything resembling this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-in-a-pot soup with the undeservedly charming moniker.
I have, however, discovered an efficient and delicious way to clean out the fridge and stretch the food budget in the new millennium: Roasted Vegetable Pasta. I'll spare it a cutesy name but...what to call it? Leave it as it is or does something clever pop into your heads out there? Group-think. Whaddya got?
Basically, I go through the fridge to pull out a few veggies that haven't found their way into a recipe - and that are still with us in this world. On this particular evening: carrots, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, garlic, zucchini, eggplant and fennel were given a rough chop (cauliflower simply broken into good sized flowerets, garlic cloves were peeled but along with the brussel sprouts, they were left whole) and added to a roasting pan. They were then tossed lightly with a generous drizzle of olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and put into a 375º oven to roast until browned and fragrant. Meanwhile, I brought a pot of water to a boil and as the veggie mixture rested in the oven at the end of it's roast, added the pasta in the water to cook until it was al dente. Pasta gets drained, veggies get tossed into the pasta pot (or you could do it the other way 'round) and gently folded together.
Now, I'm telling you, you could stop right here and have a delicious meal but I had some pesto on hand so I added a good scoop and gently mixed it in to bring another dimension to the dish. The vegetables and pasta bits were all shiny with flecks of basil-y green - and the fragrance that wafted up from that pan...ohhhh....you're going to want to try this with your winter veggies one day soon...I just know it!
As a side note: When I'm not planning to add the pesto, I give the vegetables a generous sprinkle of crushed herbs de provence before they go into the oven. Mmmm.
This is not my mother's Dibby Dab Soup. No sireee. Those days are gone. This is...well, this is just downright tasty.
(Photo above taken pre-pesto addition...I was hungry and in a hurry.)
* French slang representing a multitude of expressions...in this case, "damn it". (That's just how much I hated Dibby Dab Soup!)