Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quick Minestrone

Off today and I feel the need for some soup. A favorite is this quick minestrone and the nice thing is that I almost always have the ingredients in my pantry/garden. Like all the recipes I post here, this is the basic/minimum. You can add some additional vegetable such as squash(zucchini,yellow, acorn, butternut) and/or you can start with some bacon or pancetta. You can finish with another green such as spinach or even turnip or mustard. Use what you have and like. Obviously, you can make this vegan by substituting vege stock for the chicken. Whatever.

Quick Minestrone

Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion chopped (1 1/2 cups)
3 carrots chopped into about 1/2 inch dice or about 2 cups
3 stalks of celery chopped into about 1/2 inch dice or about 2 cups
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 Tbsp dried thyme(use a couple of tsp of fresh thyme if you have it)
1 large can(26 ounce) of diced or chopped tomatoes or a quart of home canned
6 or 7 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 15 oz can of cannellini beans drained and rinsed
1 cup of dried small pasta ( I like ditalini)
8 oz. or so of fresh kale stemmed and chopped roughly
1/2 cup dry white wine ( I use vermouth)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Extra Virgin olive oil for garnish

In a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, in two tablespoons of olive oil cook the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and thyme for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until they begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of stock, bay leaf, and add maybe 2 tsp salt and a tsp of black pepper. This is going to be driven by how salty your stock is and whether you used bacon or pancetta in the beginning. You can add a bit more later if needed. Simmer this for about 20 minutes, remove the bay leaf and then add the pasta and beans. Cook this for another 15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Add the chooped kale or other greens (kale takes a bit longer than spinach but you want the greens just tender and not cooked to death). Shouldn't take more that 10 minutes. Add the white wine. Serve in wide bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

This should be a thick, hearty soup but you can adjust with a bit more stock if you think it is too thick. Needless to say this should be served with crusty bread and a nice salad.

You can make this earlier in the day and just turn it off and leave it covered then just carefully reheat it when you a ready to eat. You can make it on the weekend and it keeps in the fridge just fine so you can have a no fuss meal later in the week. This makes 6 nice servings.

I'm going to go start mine right now and I just happen to have some left over pizza dough that is going to magically turn into Parmesan bread sticks.

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