Bugs Bunny Broth and Pasta Fazoo

One of our foodie-friends, J, stopped by on Friday. He works in the city in which we live and has a long commute, so every now and then he’ll come by and wait out the traffic. We usually talk, eat, and have a cocktail or two. Sort of like an in-house happy hour. J is a city boy and on Friday, Chris came home with these carrots like J and I had never seen before. To us, carrots come in a cellophane wrapper, you know? Both of us were quite intrigued. I immediately began plotting what I could do with those carrot tops, and remembered that we had the gizzards from five Mardi Gras turkeys in the freezer. We would make what is now affectionately known as Bugs Bunny Broth. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, we threw the carrot tops, 2 roughly chopped onions, a pound of chicken thighs chopped (with skin and bone), 2 pinches of herbs de Provence, a pinch of sea salt, some olive oil, some clarified butter, and the gizzards. Since we had no celery in the house, I added a tablespoon of dried celery flakes as well. We stirred it often and allowed the chicken to heat through and the vegetables to get soft. We then added enough water to fill the pot and let it simmer on low for a few hours. Well, like six hours. Actually, I don’t know how many hours but we put it away when we went to bed that night. The next morning we strained it out, first in a colander, then in a fine-mesh sieve.

We had our stock. Now what to do with it? Chris and I decided on Pasta Fagiole, or what I like to call Pasta Fazoo. Chris comes from an Italian family and they tend to pronounce their Italian foods correctly, although not quite as distinctly, as Giada DeLaurentis does. So I come up with some pronunciations of my own just to poke fun. Here’s what we did. We cooked up 4 slices of bacon until they were just about brown. Then we added some olive oil, a medium chopped onion and 4 cloves minced garlic. When the onions were translucent, we added a teaspoon of oregano, ¼ teaspoon red pepper, and 2 sardines that we had minced up into a mushy paste (no anchovies in the house). We let those flavors sit for a couple of minutes and then added a 28-oz can of diced tomatoes, juice and all, stirring to pick up the brown bits in the bottom of the pan. We added a small piece of parmesan rind and a large can of beans – all we had were Goya pink beans, but I wanted cannellinis and would use those next time. This we brought to a boil and then simmered it for about 20 minutes. Next came the broth, 3 ½ cups of it. When that was boiling again, we added 4 oz of ditalini and 4 oz of orzo because I couldn’t decide which pasta I wanted to use. Ten minutes of boiling and some salt, pepper and grated parmesan later, we had a delicious, flavorful, hearty soup. One criticism: we could definitely taste the turkey-ness in the broth, so maybe a store-bought chicken broth would work better. One warning: this soup does not keep very well because the pasta tends to soak up the liquid and it ends up very thick, so eat it all up right away and use some good Italian bread to dip in it.

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