Growing up, wagon wheel soup was our cure-all. The recipe came from my grandmother, who watched my brother and I lot as kids when my Mom and Dad were working. It was always a treat when Sitto made wagon wheel soup, and it literally made everything better–it’d warm you to the core on snowy days or instantly boost you if you were feeling under the weather (to be honest, there were a few occasions where I’d fake sick from school so I could stay home and have her make me wagon wheel soup).
Recently, I called her for the recipe when I was really needing a fix. If I could describe my grandmother, I’d liken her to “Marie” from Everybody Loves Raymond in the most endearing, lovely way possible. She’s a true gem, and I’m so grateful for her, but she was definitely gifted with the gab, and a quick recipe phone call instantly resulted in a 40-minute phone call ending with how to cut onions and clean kidney beans. And three days later, I got this:
Yep, that’s a mailed letter with the recipe–gotta love grandmothers! The hilarious part about this is by the time I got around to making the soup, I couldn’t find where I had written down her instructions while we were on the phone–only her mailed recipe. So I guess she was onto something.
To whip up your own batch of comfort food wagon wheel soup, you’ll need:
- 6 cups water
- one small 8 oz can tomato sauce
- one 15 oz can red kidney beans
- 1/2 lb “wagon wheel” macaroni
- one small onion, diced
- extra virgin olive oil
- parsley, salt and pepper, to taste
In a pan, sauteed the chopped onion in olive oil on low until translucent. In a sauce pan, combine the water and tomato sauce together and bring to a boil. Add the kidney beans and keep on a low simmer while the onions finish cooking.
In the meantime, bring a pan of salted water to a boil for the pasta, then add it, cooking until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Add the sauteed onions to the pot with the kidney beans (just be careful–the small amount of oil from the onions might splatter a bit with the water in the pan).
Once the pasta has cooked, drain and pour it into the soup pan. Allow it to simmer on low for about 20 minutes, adding salt, pepper and parsley to taste, then serve. This recipe makes about four bowls of soup, and will last in the fridge for five days. Simply re-heat in the microwave to enjoy again!