Today marks the sixth anniversary of this column, which debuted in 2012 exactly on this day, Nov. 14th, which also happens to be my birthday.

I’ve been writing professionally throughout my adult life in one way or another, but this was the first time I was invited to work as a creative writer. With Tony’s culinary expertise and my love of words, this collaboration was a perfect fit for us.

Writing is my first creative passion, but after six years of developing new recipes and sharing stories centered around our food experiences, cooking runs a close second. Both have become a form of therapy for me, a way to escape the daily grind and create something special from scratch.

Over time, as our careers have pivoted into new endeavors, I have taken on a larger role in the production of this column. While Tony is still a great mentor and creative partner, his role as the general manager of the Hotel Donaldson has minimized his involvement. To be honest, I wasn’t sure at first if I would be able to produce a new recipe every week on my own. When Tony and I were first married, 25 years ago this month, I didn’t even know how to boil water. I’m not kidding.

Aside from being a kind and dashing Italian with whom I was madly in love, Tony’s skills as a chef factored big in my decision to marry him. Thankfully, I’ve matured, and even picked up a thing or two over the past 25 years of living with a chef — from our experiences traveling the world, operating a fine dining restaurant, hosting dozens of cooking classes and preparing five banquets in a field.

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A touch of heavy cream gives this hearty soup an elegant finish.
David Samson / The Forum
A touch of heavy cream gives this hearty soup an elegant finish. David Samson / The ForumDavid Samson / The Forum

As a storyteller, food has been a marvelous muse for me. Producing this column each week is a joy and even, at times, a comfort. I’d like to thank The Forum and my editors for providing me with such a fun opportunity to explore the world of food, and their dynamic team of photojournalists, my friends, who are committed to capturing the images that bring my words to life each week. I’d also like to thank you, our readers, especially those who have reached out over the years to share that you made or enjoyed a recipe or story — I hope you know how good that makes me feel.

Today’s recipe for Creamy Turkey Wild Rice Soup was created in that spirit of feeling good. If you’re looking for a way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey, this soup is easy to make, lusciously creamy and delicious. In fact, after last week’s photo shoot, Tony came home from work and gobbled up the entire batch in one sitting. Not a bad result for a girl who couldn’t even boil pasta 25 years ago.

Thank you so much for reading and supporting this column — it is my pleasure to share my love for food and storytelling with you. Please keep reading, and stop by my new blog, Good Food and Words, at sarahnasello.com, where you can find our recipes as well as tips to help ensure a smooth Thanksgiving holiday. Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Cut long vegetables like carrots and celery into three small sections. Cut each section into 1/4 inch strips, then dice into bite sized cubes. 
David Samson / The Forum
Cut long vegetables like carrots and celery into three small sections. Cut each section into 1/4 inch strips, then dice into bite sized cubes. David Samson / The ForumDavid Samson / The Forum

Creamy Turkey Wild Rice Soup

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter, unsalted

1 cup yellow onion, medium-dice

1 cup carrots, peeled and diced into ¼-inch pieces (about the size of your pinkie nail)

½ cup celery, cut into ¼-inch pieces

¼ cup baby button mushrooms, quartered

½ cup dry white wine (optional, to build depth of flavor)

3 tablespoons flour

1 quart low-sodium chicken stock (vegetable stock or water may be substituted)

2 cups water

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

½ cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup wild rice, cooked according to directions on package

1 to 1 ½ cups cooked turkey meat, diced into cubes

½ cup frozen green peas, thawed

Directions:

In a 3-quart saucepot or medium stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, but no browning has begun.

Add the mushrooms and continue cooking over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the mushrooms start to soften. If using, add the white wine and continue cooking on medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until ingredients are evenly coated; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the flour is fully incorporated. Watch to ensure that the flour does not begin to darken — if this should occur, add the chicken stock immediately.

Add the chicken stock, water and thyme and stir to combine. Increase to medium heat and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until the soup begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.

Increase heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the soup thickens to desired consistency, about 10 to 12 minutes, depending on your preference. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired, starting with a half-teaspoon of each. If the soup is too thick, add more stock or water, starting with half a cup and adding more as needed.

Add the wild rice and cook for 1 minute, then add the diced turkey and frozen peas and continue cooking until heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or let cool and transfer to an airtight container.

To store:

Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tips:

Wait to add the wild rice, turkey and peas until just a few minutes before serving to keep the texture and color fresh.

This soup may be substituted for cream of chicken soup in other recipes, so if you have enough leftover turkey, make a double batch and freeze some for later use.

Recipe Time Capsule:

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“Home With the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.