Can’t see the carbs in the photo? It’s the white pointy things. Orzo, it’s called. It is pasta shaped like large grains of rice. Its most popular use is in soups but it can also be cooked likerisotto. You can even serve it by itself the way you would rice.
Should this soup be served with bread? Well, it is already a one-bowl meal. But if soup sounds more enjoyable with bread, go ahead and serve bread on the side. Better make it garlic and herb toast.
Garlic and herb toast
How do you make plain buttered toast more exciting? Adding grated garlic, salt and pepper does the trick well but adding chopped fresh herbs is an even better idea.
Now, about this tomato cabbage orzo soup… It is a one-pot dish. It starts with cooking the bacon until fat has been rendered. In the bacon fat, the vegetables are sauteed with herbs. The sliced mushrooms are added and the cabbage is tossed in. Homemade bone broth is poured in and, when the cabbage has softened, the orzo is stirred in. Everything is simmered together until the orzo is al dente.
For best results, use bacon with a generous amount of fat. You’ll get the best flavor from smoked unsweetened bacon.
The button mushrooms may be brown or white, or a combination of the two. You may even use some other mushroom variety. The recipe is that versatile. Lots of room for personalization.
Bacon, cabbage, tomato and pasta soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 250 grams sliced belly bacon - (preferably smoked and unsweetened) cut into half-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion - peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled and minced
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 8 large and plump tomatoes - diced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- 300 grams fresh mushrooms - (I used Swiss brown mushrooms) thinly sliced
- 1 large white cabbage - cored and thinly sliced
- 8 cups bone broth
- 1 ½ cups orzo
- Heat the olive oil in a pot.
- Spread the bacon pieces evenly on the hot oil.
- Cook over medium heat without disturbing for about two minutes then stir. Continue cooking until the bacon pieces are browned and swimming in a small pool of fat.
- Scoop out the bacon and set aside.
- In the hot bacon fat in the pot, saute the onion and garlic with the oregano.
- When softened, add the tomatoes, basil and sage. Cook for a minute.
- Add the mushrooms to the pot. Cook, stirring, until the mushroom slices shrink a little.
- Add the cabbage. Cook, tossing, just until the cabbage starts to wilt.
- Pour in the bone broth. Bring to a gentle boil.
- Taste. Add salt and pepper, as needed (very important if your bone broth is unseasoned or under-seasoned).
- Lower the heat, cover the pot and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Turn up the heat. Pour the orzo into the pot. Cook, stirring, until the mixture once again comes to a gentle boil.
- Lower the heat once more. Cover the pot and cook the soup until the orzo is just done, cooked through but still firm. It takes about seven minutes.
- Ladle the soup into bowls.
- Garnish with the cooked bacon.