April 10, 2010

Minestrone Soup

I love soups.
I am sad to see soup season disappear, I just don't like soup in the warm weather.  It snowed this week so I was excited to get to make this soup at least once more before warm weather appeared.  
It is also my first go to recipe when I have too many veggies in the fridge. It is a good way to use up odds and ends.  I'll write the basic recipe out, then include a few tips at the end.

1-2 T oil of choice
2 potatoes
2 carrots
1 zucchini
1 c green beans
1 c shredded cabbage (I have used green, napa and red, they all work fine, just use what you have on hand)
1/2 c celery
1 onion
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t Italien seasoning
1-2 t oregano
4 c stock
15 oz can tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce  (opt, it does give greater depth if not cooking all day)
15 oz kidney beans
2 c water
4 oz dry pasta 
Chop the vegetables how ever you would like.  
Saute the first 8 vegetables in oil until crisp tender.  Stir in seasonings, cook 1-2 minutes more.  Add everything but the pasta and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Heat to boiling and add pasta,  let simmer until pasta is al dente (10-12 minutes).
Serve and enjoy. 
My kids really like a little fresh parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

A few tips.  I usually add at least 1 cup of chopped greens to the vegetable mixture.  I have added spinach, kale, collards, really whatever I have on hand.  I usually add too many vegetables and I end up with 2 gallons of soup and I take one to a neighbor.  Occasionally if I am feeling really decadent, I will saute 1/4 lb bacon or italien sausage and then saute the veggies in the drippings. This makes the soup even richer, I then crumble the bacon and add it in just before serving.    I usually leave out the pasta, mainly because I put in so many veggies I don't think the pasta adds anything. 
In the summer when I have veggies coming out my ears, I chop my veggies and freeze them in the proper amounts in quart bags.  Then I can dump them in and make this soup even easier.  Frozen vegetables from the  store work well too.  
This soup works great in a crockpot, I just skip the sauteing step if I am in a hurry and cook on low 6-8 hours. 
If you are out of one particular ingredient, substitute something that you do have on hand.  I frequently blend up fresh tomatoes in place of the can of tomatoes and it works great. 
The can of tomato sauce is something I only add if I am not going to let the soup simmer for a few hours to give the flavor of a longer simmering time. 

No comments: