Actually, this wintry soup has none of those letter-shaped bits of pasta. This is a post-modern alphabet soup, one you can load up with vegetables that represent virtually every letter, from artichoke and broccoli to winter squash and yam. The more the merrier, basically. I'm not eating any grains or starches for a while, so I used shallots, leeks, onions, garlic, celery, fennel, carrots, mushrooms, green beans, chard and tomatoes. Potatoes, parsnips, wild rice, farro and/or pumpkin would also be lovely additions. You can make it with water, but vegetable stock—or beef or chicken—will vastly improve the flavor. I used stock made from our Christmas goose carcass! This is such an easy recipe. Throw it together in 20 minutes, let it bubble on the stove for a while and then serve it with some delicious bread. You don't even need a salad because it's so loaded with vegetable goodness.