Linda Morten turned this delicious soup into a teaching tool by adding stories about Mexico and Italy to the menu when ladling bowls for her children. Her kids found it hard to resist trying something new when other children and exciting places were part of the tale. We made the soup with fideos pasta found in the ethnic aisle of the supermarket. If your store doesn't have fideos, try vermicelli or angel hair pasta.
Southern Living NOVEMBER 2005
Spread pasta in a single layer in a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once. Set aside.
Cut beef into 1/4-inch-thick strips; cut each strip into 1-inch pieces. Coat with taco seasoning mix.
Cook beef, onion, and bell pepper in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium heat, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until beef is browned. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in basil; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds.
Add toasted pasta, broth, and next 3 ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until pasta is almost tender. Stir in spinach. Sprinkle each serving with shredded Parmesan cheese.
*7 ounces angel hair or vermicelli pasta broken into 1-inch pieces may be substituted for fideos pasta.
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