Healing Garlic Soup with Pasta Shells


When summer is turning to fall, many of us are working on overdrive, with the “back to school” feeling in the air.  Everyone around us is starting to get sick. After a busy week of work last week, it ocurred to me that it’s time to take preventative measures to fortify my own immune system.

It used to be that when you started to feel run down, someone would ask you if they could get you anything, oh, make you some tea or  chicken soup. These days it’s not uncommon that your friends want to run for the hills, for fear of getting sick themselves. So why not start your own pot of soup on the stove?

Fair enough we all have things to do and it’s never a convenient time to get sick.  But whatever happened to taking responsibility for ourselves? Nowadays, we are a culture of germaphobes, where schools and offices send home actual memos insisting you stay home if you are in the least bit “sick”, mandating flu vaccinations. It’s unrealistic to think that we can quarantine ourselves, particularly in a big city like Manhattan.

I prefer to take matters into my own hands. We get sick when our bodies are run down. Yes, sometimes it happens when we are around people who are sick. Why not fortify our immune systems with a few simple steps. Coming down with the flu is nature’s way of telling us to slow down. So if we can catch ourselves in time, we can make an enormous difference by adjusting our diet and setting aside some time for rest and relaxation.

Do your best to reduce sugar, wheat products, dairy, alcohol and caffeine intake. These are all things that deplete your immune system. Since one of my favorite immunity boosters is garlic, here’s my garlic soup recipe to which you can add some pasta, or just drink it like tea. I recommend gluten free brown rice pasta shells for this, with some torn parsley overtop. My favorite brand these days is Tinkyada, found at Whole Foods and most health food stores. It’s made of brown rice and rice bran. Sometimes I opt for it over regular pasta because it tastes exceptional for wheat-free pasta. Garlic is nature’s anitbiotic, so at the very least, this soup may reduce the duration of the flu and certainly mellow out the symptoms. If you’re feeling great and you make this soup, serve it with grated parmesan reggiano and some cracked pepper.

Garlic Soup with Pasta Shells

Serves 4

2 Quarts water

2 Heads garlic, peeled

2 celery stalks, rough chopped

8 parsley branches

1 bay leaf

10 large sage leaves

8 thyme branches

Pinch of saffron

1-teaspoon sea salt

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Finely chopped parsley

Fresh ground pepper

Pre-cooked brown rice pasta to serve (about 2 cups dry)

  1. In a large soup pot, add the all of the ingredients except for the sea salt, Parmesan, chopped parsley, ground pepper and pasta.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the garlic is soft. (While the soup is cooking prepare the pasta in a separate pot if using). Smash the garlic with the back of a spoon, allowing it to disintegrate into the broth. Season with sea salt to taste.
  3. Strain the liquid and serve in a bowl with pre-cooked pasta, fresh chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper if desired.