Jodell’s Ravioli Soup

First, make a list of people who might enjoy a soup lunch or dinner at your home. Second, narrow down the list to ten for lunch or six for dinner. Third, call them and get a commitment. Fourth, start the soup about three hours before your guests will arrive.

As you can tell, this recipe makes a lot of soup. Fortunately, you can freeze the leftovers, so if someone doesn’t show, you will have a nice lunch or light Sunday supper.

Jerri first tasted this soup at a meeting of the St. Croix Valley Music Teachers Association. Jodell’s ravioli soup was an unqualified success, and she was generous enough to share the recipe with her fellow music teachers. It is a rich Italian-style soup with a wonderful bouquet.


1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion
1 large clove garlic
1 lb. hamburger
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups beef broth
5 cups water
3 beef bullion cubes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 large carrots
2 medium potatoes
10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach
25 oz. package fresh or frozen ravioli
V-8 juice
Parmesan cheese


Peel and chop the onion medium fine and peel and mince the garlic. Coat the bottom of an 8 to 10 quart soup pot or Dutch oven with the olive oil. Add the hamburger, onion and garlic and fry over moderate heat. Drain any excess fat. Add the tomatoes, spices, liquids, bullion cubes, and tomato sauce. Bring to the boil.

Peel the carrots and potatoes, cut them to a half inch dice and add them to the soup. Return to the boil and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.. Add the spinach and return to the boil. Add the ravioli and cook as directed. The soup will probably need more liquid at this point. Add V-8 juice as necessary.

Serve in bowls. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Italian Feather Bread or a crusty French bread goes well with this soup. Add a green salad for dinner.

NOTES: You can vary the character of the soup by using different kinds of ravioli. Jerri uses cheese ravioli. If you buy frozen ravioli, let it thaw in the refrigerator a few hours before you plan to make the soup.

Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup

I used to say, “Cold days call for soup.” Now it’s “Today is a good day for soup.” A good soup makes a welcome addition to any meal. It’s hard to beat a cup of soup and a sandwich or salad for lunch, and a hearty soup like this one makes an excellent dinner all by itself for up to six people.

Just serve it with a salad, good fresh bread and plenty of butter. Refrigerate any leftover soup; it will taste even better when you warm it up in a day or two.


1 lb. beef
4 cups beef broth
4 cups water
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 small onion (1 1/2 – 2 inch diameter)
1 medium potato
1 cup diced fresh or canned tomatoes
1 T vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. dried crushed basil or 1 T chopped fresh basil
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes or 2 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 to 3/4 cup pearl barley


Trim excess fat from the meat and cut it into 3/4 inch cubes. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a soup pot and brown the meat. When the meat is browned, sprinkle the sugar over it and stir the meat briskly over medium heat to caramelize the sugar until the meat is dark brown. Add the broth, water and wine and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer covered for about thirty minutes.

While the meat is cooking, peel and chop the onion medium fine. Clean and chop the celery, carrots and potato into bite-sized pieces. Add the vegetables, salt and spices to the broth and simmer covered for another thirty minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the barley and continue simmering partially covered for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

NOTES: The more barley you use, the thicker the soup will become. If you use more than 3/4 cup of barley, you should consider adding another cup of broth unless you prefer a very thick soup that resembles a stew.

If you have a Yukon gold or red potato or any other potato with a thin smooth skin, you don’t need to peel it. Just scrub it thoroughly before dicing.