The Great Sarello’s Soup-Off: The Finalists are Here!

We apologize for the schedule changes to The Great Sarello’s Soup-Off recipe contest, but this past month has been full of diversions that we could not have anticipated. Picking our finalists was no easy task, with over 25 great soup recipes submitted, and we are so pleased to have finally come to a decision on which recipes to feature in the Soup-Off, which will now be held on Wednesday, November 5th and Thursday, November 6th in the Sarello’s Wine Lounge.

Our professional chefs will prepare each of the finalists’ soups for the Soup-Off, and You, The Public, will have the opportunity to taste them all and cast a vote for your favorite. The top soups from the first night of tasting will be featured again on the second night (if the vote spread is narrow, all five will advance) and the winner will be announced here on the blog and in our Forum column on Wednesday, November 12th.

So, without further ado…

(in no particular order)

Walleye Chowder
submitted by Tom Shorma, Fargo, ND

Tuxedo Bean Soup
submitted by Renee Crary, Detroit Lakes, MN

 Beer Cheese Soup
submitted by Sarah Ann Miller, Fargo, ND

Italian Sausage & Cheese Tortellini Soup with Spinach
submitted by Michelle Erdmann, Fargo, ND

Valley Borscht
submitted by Kristen Berg Rheault, Fargo, ND

The first-place winner will receive a set of four soup bowls from
North Dakota artist Tama Smith of Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach, ND.
(see sample photo below)

Other Prizes include:
Breadsmith Bread 
Sarello’s Gift Card(s)

Grocery Store Gift Card(s)
Handheld Immersion Blender

We appreciate everyone who submitted a recipe for our first-ever Sarello’s Soup-Off, and we’ll be sharing all of the entries with you here on the blog over the next week. We hope you’ll join us in the Sarello’s Wine Lounge next week to help us pick our winner!

Velkommen! Enjoying The Lost Italian & Son at Norsk Hostfest…

Tony and Gio have been invited to be presenters this year at the Norsk Hostfest, North America’s largest Scandinavian festival (!!!), which is held each year in Minot, ND. You can find them in the Nordic Kitchen located in Helsinki Hall, and if you’re at the festival I encourage to stop by and enjoy their overwhelming cuteness. With his Norwegian heritage, Giovanni brings authenticity to their demonstrations, and their cooking isn’t too shabby, either. :)

I’m completely biased, but, come on – could there be a cuter cooking duo?


On Friday evening they shared a recipe for Norwegian Meatballs, which were perfectly made and enjoyed by all who attended the show. We were delighted to meet many folks from all around North Dakota and beyond, and even found an Italian-North Dakotan gentleman among the highly Nordic audience.

On Saturday they will be sharing our recipes for Norwegian Krumkake (Cannoli-style – you knew there had to be a little Italian, didn’t you?), and Norwegian Gravlax. Below you will find links that will take you directly to each recipe, and I’m also listing the recipe for Gio’s (Italian) Meatballs, as several people requested that one, too. Oh, for fun!

The Lost Italian & Son’s Featured Recipes at Norsk Hostfest:
Norwegian Meatballs

Norwegian Krumkake

Norwegian Gravlax (Cured Salmon)
BONUS: Gio’s (Italian) Meatballs


The Great Sarello’s Soup-Off is ON!

We are entering soup season, one of Tony’s and my favorite “food seasons,” and we’re practically giddy with excitement about it. And even though we may express our enthusiasm in different ways (Tony prefers to wear a shirt emblazoned with “Soup is Sexy” on the back, while my more northern European response tends to go something like, “Soup season? Oh, for fun!”), our passion for the wonders that soup can bring is equal.

We’re so excited for soup season this year that we’re hosting a contest and asking you to share your favorite soup recipes with us.

Here’s how The Great Sarello’s Soup-Off will  work: We ask you to submit the recipe for your favorite homemade soup by email or on our blog. You have until Wednesday, October 15, 2014 to submit your soup recipes to us, and we encourage you to include a story and/or picture with your recipe.

Tony and I will then choose our favorite soups for further consideration, and will announce the finalists and their recipes on our blog on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.

And here’s where things really get fun: We will host a “Soup-Off” featuring the finalists’ soups in the Sarello’s Wine Lounge on Tuesday, October 28 and Wednesday, October 29 for the public to taste and vote for the winner. Your recipe must be exact, as our chefs will want to make it just the way you do at home.

The winner and her/his recipe will be announced on November 5, in both our column and on the blog.

We hope you will participate and share your recipes with us. Contest rules, eligibility requirements, and more information is detailed in the Contest Guidelines below.

All submissions must be received by Oct. 15, 2014 to be eligible, and you may submit your recipes electronically only via email to or in the Comments section of our blog.


We ask you to submit the recipe for your favorite homemade soup, and we encourage you to include a little story and/or picture with your recipe. Let us know why you love this soup, and share any special memories or traditions if you have them. Did your mother or grandmother make this soup? Did you try to emulate a favorite soup from a restaurant? What do you use as a garnish for your soup?

You have until Wednesday, October 15, 2014 to submit your soup recipes to us electronically via email or in the Comments section here on our blog. Please be sure to include your name, address, email address and telephone number with your entry information, and again – if you have a photo, please include it.

*Please write “The Lost Italian Soup Contest” in the Subject field*

Tony and I will review all of the soup recipe submissions, and the finalists and their recipes will be announced on Wednesday, October 22 both here on our blog.

We will be hosting a “SOUP-OFF” in the Wine Lounge at Sarello’s on Tuesday, October 28 & Wednesday, October 29, and will serve the finalists’ soups for YOU, the public, to taste and judge. The soup with the most votes will be declared the winner.

No, our chefs will be preparing your soups for the public tasting finals, so make sure your recipe is exact, as our chefs will want to make it just the way you do at home.

4. WHEN IS THE WINNING RECIPE ANNOUNCED? The winner and her/his recipe will be announced on November 5, in both our column and on the blog.

We are still compiling prizes from various local businesses and will announce more as they come in, but we are pleased to announce that Tama Smith, the amazing North Dakota potter from Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach, ND has already agreed to come on board once again as a prize contributor! The top finalist will receive a set of four soup bowls from Prairie Fire Pottery, valued at $152 *AND* a Four-Course Dinner for Two at Sarello’s!!

Other prizes may include:

Sarello’s Gift Cards

Breadsmith Bread 

Grocery Store Gift Cards

Handheld Immersion Blender

8. WHO CAN ENTER? There is no age limit to enter this contest, and we encourage cooks of all ages and places to submit their favorite soup recipes.

9. WHO CAN’T ENTER? If you are a relative of Sarah or Tony Nasello, or are employed by Sarello’s, Inc. or Forum Communications, then you are not eligible to enter this contest.

10. WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A RECIPE? CAN I STILL ENTER? No, you can’t, because this is a RECIPE CONTEST. :) But don’t worry – we will be hosting a Giveaway later this month for our blog readers only, so keep checking back for more details! If you’re not already a subscriber, we encourage you to enter your email address in the box on the right-hand side of the page to receive all the latest and greatest news from Home with The Lost Italian.

We hope you will participate and share your recipes with us. Only submissions received by Oct. 15, 2014 will be eligible to advance in the competition. We may choose to feature your recipe submission here on the blog throughout the contest period and/or beyond,in The Forum newspaper, as well as in any future publications, and submitting your recipe for entry will be considered permission to use your recipe.Full credit will be given to the person who submitted the recipe and any photos that accompany it.


In the meantime, please enjoy this week’s recipe for Sarello’s Red Pepper Soup, which has become such a favorite of our guests that they’ll call ahead to request it. This recipe is really simple and you can omit the roux for a gluten-free option. You can also roast the red peppers in advance for a more robust flavor, but we like to use them in their natural state.

Tony’s favorite kitchen tool, a handheld immersion blender, is ideal for soup-making, but you can also use a food processor or liquid blender. Make sure to pass the soup through a fine-mesh strainer before serving, to remove any seeds or peel from the pepper.

We use chicken stock as the base for this soup, which enhances the overall depth of flavor, but you could use vegetable stock instead. The soup has a very pretty red-orange color which we like to accent with homemade croutons and a sprinkling of fresh parsley, but diced yellow peppers would also work well.

We hope that you’re ready to get your soup on this season, and look forward to reading your recipes!

Red Pepper Soup

Makes: 6 servings

6 red bell peppers, seeds and veins removed from inside, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Sambal sauce or other hot sauce (Sriracha or Tabasco also fine)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
½ celery stalk, diced
½ carrot, diced
¼ cup butter
1 qt. chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons roux
Seasoning to taste

In a stock pot, sauté the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and sambal in butter over medium heat for 5 minutes until soft. Add the red bell pepper and chicken stock and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Add the roux and then puree with an immersion blender (you may also use a blender or food processor).

Strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into another pot. Return to the stove and add the cream. Cook over low heat for 5 more minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Tony’s Tips:

  • Garnish this soup with something of a contrasting color – you may use chopped yellow peppers, minced parsley, croutons, etc. Be creative.
  • You may also choose to roast your red peppers beforehand for a more robust flavor.

To store:  Soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one week or in the freezer for at least 2 months.

½ cup butter, shortening, lard or vegetable oil (the more flavorful the fat, the better the roux)
½ cup flour

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan and stir in the flour.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly until a light straw color is achieved.  Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Game Day Food…#GOBISON!!!

Fargo is gearing up to welcome back ESPN’s Game Day show, and we want you to be ready for the big day! Here are some of our favorite recipes for game day, whether you’re tailgating or watching the game from home.

Also, be sure to check out our Party Dip Recipes section for a ton of great recipes from last fall’s recipe contest in search of the Perfect Party Dip.

Italian Sausage, Peppers & Onion “Sangwich” - Serve it up like they did in Tony’s old Toronto neighborhood, or skip the red peppers and highlight the green and gold in honor of the NDSU BISON! In Fargo, we like to use Mexican Bolillo rolls or Portuguese hard rolls for this sandwich, er, sangwich.

Hot Beef Taco Dip - This hearty ground beef dip is full of the classic taco flavors and will help keep you warm and happy throughout the game.

Jalapeno Popper Dip - It’s hard to believe, but this party dip tastes exactly like a jalapeno popper, and is almost embarrassingly delicious.

Cincinnati Chili - We serve this regional specialty 4-way or 5-way over spaghetti or Coney style over hot dogs, but it’s so good you can even eat it on a spoon.

Gio’s Meatballs - Keep these Italian-style meatballs warm in a crock pot and serve with our Easy Tomato Sauce over spaghetti or in sandwich form on ciabatta rolls or a French baguette. Easy to make and mild in seasoning, this is a great recipe for kids to make and eat! SOUP! - Make a crock of soup and stay warm at the tailgate – The Lost Italian has more than 20 great soup recipes for you!

Corn Fritters – sweet corn is still in season, and these corn fritters are the perfect way to showcase it!

Blackened Sirloin with Horseradish Cream Sauce - Super easy to make, this sirloin is served chilled and can be prepared well in advance. Every time we serve this we get asked for the recipe – and the horseradish cream sauce is so good you’ll find yourself looking for reasons to make it. (It’s also great with bison, roast tenderloin, grilled sirloin roast, potatoes, on a spoon…you get the idea.) Sicilian Arancini Balls - These little, fried golden orbs are filled with risotto, green peas and ground beef, and they are heavenly when served with our Easy Tomato Sauce for dipping. Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Crostini - We can all use a splash of summer, and this Italian tri-colored appetizer does the trick. Forza Azzurri! (I know, I know, that only works for FUTBOL, not football, but I’m just Italian-by-Marriage after all…) Easy Vinaigrette Potato Salad - Easy to make and always a crowd pleaser, this simple salad consists of Yukon Gold potatoes, green onions, cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper. Bruschetta – You’ve got the grill fired up already, so why not throw on some slices of French bread and make some quick Bruschetta with Green Olive Tapenade or Tomato Anchovy Relish? We love the flavor that anchovies bring to a dish, and these two toppings for bruschetta are full of great flavor, easy to make and absolute crowd pleasers.

Honey Gorgonzola Hearts of Romaine Salad - We love to showcase North Dakota whenever we can, and this salad is the perfect way to do it since ND is the #1 producer of honey in the nation! We also know a thing or two about football… Basil Pesto Pasta Salad - This colorful, delicious pasta salad can be made in advance and served at room temperature. Clipper Chippers – a.k.a., the World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie! These cookies are packed with milk chocolate chips, three different kinds of nuts, and two liqueurs, and they are amazing!

Tiramisu - Because every party deserves a little Italian “pick me up.” Need we say more? Baileys Irish Cream Cheesecake – This dessert is always a hit with our guests at Sarello’s, and you can cut the cake into bar-sized bites for your game day party!  Buttermilk Brownies - Skip the peppermint extract and festive candy cane topping for this occasion and enjoy the wonderful deliciousness of these moist and airy brownies with their incredible cooked chocolate frosting. You could even add green and gold sprinkles just after applying the frosting! #GOBISON! We hope you find this list fun, festive and helpful. We would love to know what’s on YOUR menu for Saturday’s Bison Game (Day), so be sure to leave your answer in the Comments section below. GO BISON!!!!!!!