No, seriously. It's quite nomz, and it makes use of an unfairly maligned ingredient: the lowly cabbage/chou/kraut.
These ingredients are super-humble. Humble to the point of forelock-tugging, even. But the combination transcends their lowly origins and results in something that one would not be ashamed to serve to guests (as I was not ashamed to serve it to Fisher and Rhys' overnight guests W. and E. and their mom Anne tonight).
I may have had a glass or four of wine with Anne prior to preparing this soup, and another time I might not have been quite so generous with the hot sauce (though, really, it produces a most agreeable afterburn as made). This overzealousness has been corrected in the rendition given below.
Serves four hungry children, one adult who wants seconds, one adult who is fine with one bowl and one adult who is going to eat whatever is left when he gets home.
4 thick slices good bacon*, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
8 cups beef broth (or 4 cups double-strength broth and 4 cups water, which is what I used)
About a third of a decent-sized head of cabbage, cored, outer leaves removed, shredded
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
A few good pinches of salt
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
8 ounces tortellini
1 cup fusilli or other short pasta (You could also use 1 lb tortellini, which is what the original recipe called for, but honestly I think that might have been a bit much)
1 tsp or thereabouts thick hot sauce, such as Drunken Angel Hot Sauce
Grated Monterey Jack cheese, for serving
In a soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat until just browned and crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon; pour off all but about 2 Tbsp fat.
Return pot to medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add garlic and parsley; cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
Add broth, cabbage, carrot, salt, chile flakes and reserved bacon. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
Stir in tortellini and/or other pasta. Return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes more.
Serve with Jack cheese sprinkled over each bowl. Nom nom nomz.
*I am starting to think I should start a separate category of soups tagged simply "Bacon." What say you?