Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hearty Minestrone Soup

According to the news reports, snow is creeping into our neighborhoods, ready to surprise unsuspecting Minnesotans who thought we'd beat this year's winter. I have a pretty good memory when it comes to late-occurring winters though, since my birthday is in March! I recall a few times growing up when my birthday parties happened in snowy weather, so I know there's always the possibility for more winter. Because our Minnesota winter might be just around the corner, I thought I would post a recipe for a hearty Minestrone soup. It's tasty and flavorful -- perfect for a surprise blast of winter!

Minestrone Soup
serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, minced fine
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can white beans
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 cup green beans, trimmed and chopped into one-inch pieces
1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 15-oz can kidney beans
1 quart of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 parmesan rind (available at most markets)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup short pasta (I used elbow macaroni)

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the can of white beans and using a potato masher, mash up most of the beans. This will thicken the base of the soup.

Add the carrots, green beans, tomatoes, kidney beans, stock, oregano, parmesan rind, salt & pepper, and veggie stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover and add in the dried pasta. Once the pasta has cooked, remove from heat and serve. Top each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly cut basil. Enjoy!

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