I decided to write about the oldest creation first, although, that isn’t truly correct seeing as how I have pictures for posts that I never got around to writing dating back to June ’09… but of the collection of ideas for the last two weeks, this one is the oldest…
I’ve been making variations of minestrone for as long as I can remember, so like most of my soup recipes, it is really about the process more than the ingredients themselves… I tend to stick to the ‘trinity’ (aka. soffritto) to start out; onions, carrots, celery with the usual addition of garlic… from there it just depends on what veggies I have on hand, and I always add canned diced tomatoes and usually tomato sauce.
Whether I use pasta, rice, potatoes, or a combination really depends on my mood that day, but all create wonderful versions of the soup. I also usually will add some white beans, preferably cannellini, but any white bean will do – navy, great northern, chickpeas (aka. garbanzo) make a nice texture as well.
The seasonings, again, depend upon my mood, but the usual suspects are Italian seasoning and bay leaf, if you have herbs de provence – that’s a good one as well… of course, you could always just add basil, oregano, etc if you don’t have a mix.
And it goes without saying, my broth is made with better than bouillon vegetable base and water.
For this version, I invited kale, parsley, and carrot greens to the party. It made a hearty soup full of nutrients, and if I do say so myself, was awesome…
by the auspicious squirrel
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- onion, diced
- 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 stalks celery, chopped – with greens
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped – with the greens if you have them
- handful of fingerling potatoes, sliced (about the size of 1 potato – I roasted the rest of the potatoes in the photo)
- 1-2 bell peppers (I decided not to use all the peppers in the photo)
- 1-1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, to taste
- salt & pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups water
- 1/2- 1 Tbsp. better than bouillon vegetable base, to taste
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (I did not drain these because they are packed with seaweed instead of salt)
- 1/4 cup uncooked small pasta (I used acini di pepe)
- handful of parsley, chopped
- 2 leaves of kale, rib removed and chopped
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over med-high heat, add onion and a pinch of salt, cook about 5 minutes, lower heat to medium. Next add garlic, celery, carrot, potatoes, and bell peppers. My usual method is to cut and add a vegetable, then cut and add the next vegetable, giving each one a bit of time to cook before I add the next vegetable.
- Cook until onion looks transparent, 5-10 minutes. Add Italian seasoning, pinch of salt, pepper, bay leaf, and water. Raise heat to med-high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to medium, add better than bouillion, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, great northern beans, chickpeas and pasta. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
- Meanwhile, chop the greens… parsley, celery greens, carrot greens.
- Also chop the kale.
- Add the greens to the soup, but don’t stir just yet…
cover and simmer about 5 minutes ‘steaming’ the greens.
- Stir the greens in and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and/or more better than bouillon.
- Ladle into bowls, enjoy.
I served it with home-made quinoa bread…
Until next time…