Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup

Sopa de Letras
6 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken broth, fideo, onion, pasta, pati's mexican table, Tomatoes
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes
Alphabet Soup recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 3, Episode 3 “My Three Favorite Boys”


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, quartered, or whole canned tomatoes, drained
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups alphabet-shaped pasta, or any other small-shaped pasta, 12 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

To Prepare

  • Place the tomatoes, garlic, onion and water in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the pasta, stirring continuously. As you fry the pasta, it will change in color from a deep white to a deep brown. Take care not to burn it! You want to cook it until it smells toasty, but not bitter like burned toast, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour the tomato puree over the pasta, sprinkle in the salt, and stir. Be careful, as the puree will want to jump all over your burners, it’s a good idea to cover it partially with a lid. Let the tomato base cook and thicken for about 6 minutes, stirring often, until it becomes a deeper red and has thickened to the consistency of a thick puree. Keep on stirring, so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. You will see the base of the pot as you stir, but the sauce will not be dried out. Cooking the tomato puree to this point will give the soup a really nice depth of flavor.
  • Pour in the broth, stir, and when it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve.

101 comments on “Alphabet Soup

Leave a Reply to melody Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I just got finished watching this episode. Those boys are so lucky to have you as their mom! I love simple easy recipes so I will definitely be trying this one out. I hope my boys love it as much as yours do!

  2. Hello,
    First off I love your show. I watch it all of the time. I love to see your travel videos, your time with your boys cooking. I just saw your show when you made this soup. I’m making some today for our lunches next week. It sounds do good.

    Amy P.

  3. Muchisimas gracias Pati! Thank you to you, your boys and husband for your show and pride in our mutual Mexican heritage. We have long taught all our five children (ages 6 – 21) to cook and love the culinary art. We have added your show to our nightly watch schedule and we will be making this recipe esta noche. Abrazos y esperamos que todos andan bien durante la cuarentena.

  4. First of all I want to tell you how much I enjoy watching your program. You are the queen of Mexican cooking! Outstanding recipes and entertaining destinations. I love that you taste your food and your family is beautiful! All your recipes are excellent … this is a simple and delicious weekday recipe that quick to make. Thank you for all you do!

  5. I’m a mom of three boys and this is their absolute favorite meal. I use ditalini and less broth so it’s thicker. My boys adore it!! Thank you!

  6. My wife finally saw this episode and asked if I could turn it into the base for a vegetable soup. To make it more hearty, I marinated stew meat with cumin and cayenne and browned it. I used vegetable stock instead of chicken broth and added the stew meat and corn during the simmering process at the end. Turned out amazing!! Thank you! I did use dinosaur shaped pasta to keep it fun 🙂

  7. My soup came out very bland. I made sure to get the tomato puree to a dark red paste… but I needed to add a lot more salt and pepper and oregano and parsley and basil … and red pepper flakes and tomato paste. I guess this is for children’s palates. I was hoping though the Browning of the pasta and getting the tomato puree to the paste would add the tomato flavor that I’m missing. I also felt as if the chicken broth was a lot and may have overpowered the tomato flavors. Do you think its the broth I used?

  8. Thank you Pati for sharing your recipe! I do have a question I hope you will answer. I wanted to know if I could add a diced dried ancho chili to this recipe. If I can, should I add it when I’m sauteing the pasta or when I add the tomatoes? Please let me know. Thanks!!

  9. I watched an episode last night that had this soup but with different pasta, sandwiches and some cheese cake. I want to find the recipes for all three. Everything looked so good it made me hungry.

  10. My son refuses to eat soup, he says it takes a long time to eat… yea he is only 5 so I get his point..I made this soup and now it is his favorite soup ever! or so he says, I know that it is a winner for me so thank you for this recipe and for all your books which have made our lives better!

  11. Hi Pati!
    I have a son that has to eat gluten free. Do you think this recipe can be made with gluten free brown rice pasta? I’m hoping it will turn out relatively close to the original! Thanks! P.S. We love your show!!

  12. Thank you for allowing us to print your recipes. Will definitely be making alphabet soup. Reminds me of 1 my father made way back in the 60s. Would cilantro be appropriate in this soup?

  13. My wife and I love your show being vegetarians there’s a lot on offer. Just making the alphabet tomato soup now, can’t wait, looking great! Cheers

  14. Hi Pati!
    My husband and I and our 3 kids love watching your show. We are making this a second time tonight. My kids love it along with your molettes. We love to see your kids on the show eating and trying new things. Its a great way for kids watching to be enthusiastic about trying them as well!

  15. Hey Pati,
    I love watching your shows with my Daughter. I plan on making this wonderful soup for my three kids. What a Wonderful way to warm up right after school!
    Thank you so much Pati.

  16. This was an easy variation on my usual tomato-based alphabet soup. I added some soup veggies and a BIG spoonful of chipotle adobo sauce. Delicious! Thanks Pati!!

  17. Made today, delish. Could not find my blender base so I used 1 cup of puree and grated onion and garlic. I halved the recipe as it was just for 2 people.

  18. Hola Pati!! I’m so happy I caught the episode for the alphabet soup. I just finished preparing it using no sodium veggie broth and it came out super good! I’m always trying to find new food that I can enjoy as well as healthy meals I can cook for my mami. We were going to go out and eat but after my madre tasted the soup she said lets stay home and eat soup! I’m so happy. Thank you for this recipe and for representing Mexico and our people in such a positive light. Viva Pati!

  19. HI Pati,
    I made this today and it was very good. Very simple too!
    Love your show and all the recipes. You have a beautiful family.
    I will try to make the enchiladas next time.
    Muchas gracias

  20. Definitely making this with the Grilled Cheese sandwich. My husband is a vegetarian and I just convert the recipes using vegetable broth or stock. He loves a lot of heat so I don’t scrimp on the chipotle or jalapeño.

  21. This has become a standard at my home. My hubby who’s not a big tomato soup kinda guy loves it! It never lasts long…we gobble it right up! Thanks for the great recipe!!

  22. Hola Pati! Yo soy del Df y ya casi se me olvidaron algunas recetas de mi pais como el mole de olla y vi tu show y me gusto mucho y ya lo hice y a mi familia le encanto.A lo igual que el chesse cake con dulce de leche!!!!!Riiico!!!Gracias.

  23. Wow!
    So amazing… I made this for my two kids who wouldn’t eat ANYTHING since they have been feeling under the weather 🙁
    They LOVED it, and gobbled it up 🙂
    Thank you thank you!!!
    (From one mother to another.)

  24. Hi Pati! My son and I enjoyed watching this particular episode with your boys. 🙂 This soup is so simple yet so very delicious! I cannot wait to make it with the delicious sandwiches and dessert as well. Gotta run…making this soup as we speak! Blessings…Shannon in Texas

  25. I made this soup for my very picky 2 year old daughter and she loves it. I made it with the fresh tomatoes and the soup has a very light, refreshing taste. I was nervous toasting the pasta, but managed to get to a nice golden brown that adds a nice nutty flavor. A simple recipe that was easy to prepare but packs a ton of flavor. I will definitely be making this frequently in the future!

  26. Pati, you’re darling as is your whole family. I watch a lot of cooking shows but I’m drawn to your show every episode. Each recipe looks wonderful. I want to make the alphabet soup but as I recall on your show, you only used 4 c broth. I thought , that’s perfect for us. Thery’re are only two of us, (seniors, small apetites) so am I wrong about as recipe says 8 C? Please clarify. Thank you. Can’t wait to try the soup, even though it’s so hot here as we live in NM.
    Continue with your shows, I will look foward to each and every one.

    1. Hi Grisha, Thanks for your message! You may make the soup with only 4 cups of broth – just reduce all the other ingredients by half as well.

  27. I am making this right now & am questioning the 8 cups of broth? I only used 4 so far, and there is so much liquid after simmering for 10 minutes. I did have to cook the tomato purée & pasta mixture a lot longer than 6 minutes to get to the “thick purée” state, but I made sure to do so. Not sure what I am doing wrong? It does smell wonderful though!

  28. My daughter and I watched your show a few nights ago and I have been thinking about the recipes ever since. I went to the store today and found everything I needed. The soup and molletes were easy to prepare, but the best part was the fact that my super pickey kids ate every bite. Normally they won’t eat anything that resembles a pepper or onion but when they are hidden under a layer of beans and cheese they are all about it. We will definitely make this again soon.

  29. Thank you for this delicious recipe! I wanted to use up what I had in the cupboards, so for the pasta I substituted Israeli couscous, and for the tomato/garlic/onion I subbed a jar of canned tomato sauce I made last summer! So fresh and delicious and so soothing on a rainy day. Thanks again Pati!
    Your family is adorable, by the way!

  30. Miss.Pati~My Sweet Husband made the Alphabet Soup today & was the Best! The toasting of the Pasta made a huge difference & we will only use this recipe for Tomato Soup from now on because of Flavour,lots of lovely Flavour. Your Sweet Son knows good Foods!

  31. Pati,my husband and I love watching your show. He said anybody that watches your show and doesn’t laugh there is something wrong with are making the soup the grilled cheese & bean sandwiches .can’t wait to make the cheesecake your boys are adorable.I hope you cook on TV for a long time. I want to get your cookbooks. Pat

    1. Thank you for your message, Pat! I hope you like the soup and the sandwiches, and I hope you try many more recipes too.

  32. I have a question regarding the Alphabet Soup. It may be a stupid question, but are the noodles uncooked when you brown them in the stock pan?

  33. This looks delicious! My 11 year old daughter and I watched your show last night and the child who literally likes nothing, actually asked me to make the soup for her! And of course I will be making the rest of the recipe’s as well. Can’t wait to try them! I’m so excited to see my daughter interested in a new food 🙂

    1. Hi Jennifer, I’m so excited your daughter wants to try the soup! My boys love it! Let me know what she thinks of it. And thank you for watching!!

      1. We made it together last night. She had a huge smile on her face after her first bite and announced it’s now her favorite. Thank You!!!!

  34. Today I watched this episode with my husband and son, who is 11. Needless to say, I will be going to the grocery store tomorrow so that we can make all 4 recipes for dinner tomorrow! My son loves to cook and cannot wait to help make the cheesecake. Thank you for a lovely show, and we really enjoyed watching you cook with your sons. You have a beautiful family! (And I like your accent and the way you say “fish”!!! LOL!!

      1. So, I have to tell you – my son and I made the soup and the sandwiches! Delicious! They were so good! My son asked two days later if we could make the same dinner again! Thankyou for the recipes. We are fans for life!

  35. Hi Pati, we just watched this episode on CreateTV. It was such an entertaining show, and your boys were so sweet.
    I want to cook this soup for my grand children as soon as I get the right kind of pasta.
    Thank you for your good recipes and fun show.

    1. Thank you for watching, Rhonda! You can make that soup with any kind of pasta, you can even use angel hair and break it into pieces…

  36. Hello! I make this soup at least once a week. My family loves it. We add cumin to the recipe and will add chicken pieces for a more hardy dish. But this simple and quick recipe is my favorite!

  37. Greetings,
    I was watching your show on KPBS last Saturday and I ask my 9yr old daughter to join me and let me know if she would like to try the soup you were making. She paid attention to the show and liked the ingredients, so we made the soup together with the “molletes” Loved it!!! Easy, simple and delicious. Can’t wait to cook again with my daughter.
    Maria =-)

  38. Hola Pati,
    I saw you make this on TV last week, and I found the recipe in your cookbook. It looks and sounds so delicious that I am going to make it tomorrow with fideos and home made turkey stock. Thank you for the recipe.

  39. Pati,
    Saw your show today for the first time, and these recipes look so delicious and easy. I’m looking forward to trying them!