- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

There’s something so straightforward and effective about an old-fashioned broth-based soup festooned with colorful diced vegetables and a whimsical touch of some very small pasta. It’s an almost-instant real food that feels and tastes as if it simmered with love for hours.

For the pasta, use alphabets or little stars, orzo or little circles. Or make a combination, then serve this up in small bowls with little spoons. The child in your life will love this (and so will the child in you).

There are some very good varieties of unrefrigerated organic vegetable broth available in most supermarkets unrefrigerated, and packed in quart boxes, similar to soy milk.

I always keep these on hand as a staple for making soups (such as this one) or sauces on short notice.

Once opened, if you don’t use the entire box, store the unused portion in the refrigerator for up to a week. (This recipe uses the whole quart.)

Tiny pasta soup

Cook the pasta ahead of time, and store it in a container of water, covered in the refrigerator until use. Drain well before adding to the hot broth.

Frozen vegetables do not need to be defrosted before being added to the broth.

1 quart vegetable broth

½ cup carrots in tiny cubes (the size of small peas)

½ cup baby corn in 1/4-inch pieces (or 1/4 cup frozen corn)

½ cup diced zucchini

½ cup diced yellow crooked-neck squash

½ cup small peas (frozen)

½ cup minced firm tofu

1 to 1½ cups cooked tiny pasta (about 4 ounces uncooked)

Bring the broth to a boil in a medium-small saucepan. Add the carrots, and lower the heat to a simmer.

Cook for 5 minutes, or until the carrots are just tender, and add the zucchini, squash and corn.

Simmer for another 5 minutes, then stir in the peas, tofu and cooked pasta. Simmer just a couple of minutes longer. Serve hot (or very warm) in small bowls with small spoons. Makes about 4 servings.

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