Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Recipe: Minestrone Soup

This soup is very hearty, even with not having any meat in it. It is full of beans, veggies and pasta. This is another recipe from Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book, and it's a keeper. I only made a couple of changes, for example, I added zucchini because I had some I needed to use up. Feel free to add or omit any vegetables you like. That is what cooking is all about, making a recipe your own.

Minestrone Soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, grated
2 carrots, shredded
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp dried marjoram, or oregano
salt and pepper
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can chick peas, drained
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio)
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
1 bunch of Kale or chard, vein removed and leaves coarsely chopped (I omitted this)
1/2 lb. (1 cup) of elbow or other small shapped pasta
grated parmesan for topping (a decent parmesan, not out of the green can)
toast, preferably whole wheat or multi-grain

Heat a soup pot over medium heat with the olive oil. Add the chopped onion to the hot oil. Let cook for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and bay leaf; season with red pepper flakes, marjoram, and salt and pepper and saute until vegetables are soften, 8-10 minutes.

Add the beans, and season with salt and pepper and the rosemary. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, or until the paste smells sweet. Stir in the wine, cook for 1 minute, then stir in the stock and water. Wilt the greens, if using, and bring the soup to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente 8-10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings. Serve bowlfuls of the soup topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Use bread or toast for mopping up your bowl. Serves 6.

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