Wednesday, June 8, 2011

minestrone soup

The last time I was at my mom's, I wanted to make a big pot of something that could be parsed out to freeze half and enjoy the remaining half for a few days. Minestrone soup was the response from my mother when I asked her what this should be.

I consulted a book, Enlightened Soups, that my friend Marika sent over after my mom's cancer diagnosis. The soup I made was based very loosely on a recipe for "Winter Minestrone". The recipe's version had fennel, chard, and cannellini beans. I replaced these items with some others (specifically, carrots, spinach, and a mix of kidney and garbanzo beans) based on what sounded good to my mom.

The resulting soup came together relatively quickly and was healthy with the robust taste of the vegetable medley that comprised it. As we were eating, it struck us how strange it was to be consuming soup on Memorial Day weekend - further evidence that the weather this year has been cooler than normal. The soup provided the warmth we were seeking. We enjoyed it with hot sourdough bread and butter. Here's what I did:

Minestrone Soup
Makes a big pot of soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
3 large carrots, diced
2 handfuls baby red potatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper, and herbs (basil, oregano)
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
2 c. water
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. small pasta
2 handfuls spinach
2 tsp. red wine vinegar

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook 5 minutes. Add potatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs. Stir to combine. Cook 10 minutes. Add broth, water, tomatoes with juice, beans, and pasta. Turn heat to high and bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta and potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes.

Add spinach and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with crusty bread.

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