Sopa Estrella - Soup with Star Shaped Pasta

There are several small star shaped pastas in the variety referred to as stelline (Italian for "little stars"). It is sometimes simply packaged as pastina which is a the generic variety of of tiny pieces of pasta available in a variety of shapes. Pastina is the smallest type of pasta produced.  These pasta are common for broth based or thin soups.

August has several feast days where this tiny star shaped pasta, stelline, could be used as a symbolic reminder of a saint in a recipe.

St. Dominic (August 8) - On Monday we celebrated the feast of St. Dominic de Guzman. St. Dominic, the Spanish priest and the founder of the Dominican Order received the rosary from Our Lady and the child Jesus. It is said when St. Dominic was a baby his godmother saw a star on his forehead during the baptism, so a common attribute is a star either on the forehead or above his head.

St. Lawrence (August 10) - Wednesday is the feast of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr. Due to the timing of his feast in mid-August at the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, that annual asteroid showing is often called the "tears of St. Lawrence." So a "shower" of stars in some dish would remember this tie to St. Lawrence.

Assumption (August 15) - Our Lady is known by many star titles - - Star of the Sea (Stella Maris) and Morning Star (Stella Matutina) being the most prominent. Other titles or images include Star of the New Evangelization, Madonna della Stella, Star of Jacob, Fixed Star.  The star image could be tied to any Marian feast day, but there is a very strong connection to this feast and the Star of the Sea title. In many places traditions associated with the sea are part of this celebration - like the blessing of fleets, blessing of the bounty of the sea, and wedding of the sea.

Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12) - In the image on St. Juan Diego's tilma we see Our Lady clothed in a mantle of blue with 46 stars.

Epiphany (January 6) - And of course we associate a star with the visit of the wise men who followed the Star of Bethlehem to the infant Jesus.

Our Lady of Pontmain (January 17) - Our Lady of Hope appeared to several children at Pontmain, France. They described her as surrounded by stars. "Oh, there are so many stars the Blessed Virgin will soon be gilt all over.”  Images of her under this title show he clothed in a blue mantle gilded with golden stars.

St. Thomas Aquinas (January 28) and St. Nicholas of Tolentino (September 10) both are shown with a sun/starburst on their chest in many depictions.

St. John Nepomucene (May 16), Bohemian priest and martyr for the seal of the confessional, is often shown with five stars over his head (because, on the night of his murder, five stars were seen over the spot where he was drowned).

This week for the feast of St. Dominic I modified a typical Spanish tomato broth sopa, using stelline pasta instead of the typical fideo to celebrate the Spanish Dominic de Guzman.

Sopa Estrella

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup stelline pasta, uncooked
3 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Saute garlic in olive oil. Add chicken broth and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Add dry pasta and simmer until pasta is tender. Add more liquid if desired for thinner consistency. Add salt and pepper. 

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1 comment:

  1. I sauté the pasta along with the garlic and onion. Brings back memories of my Llalla.