Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Minestrone

Yesterday was a soup day. Woke up to a Nor'easter, so it wasn't much of a stretch and Minestrone felt like the right choice. Often referred to as the big soup, or the one with many vegetables and beans, this soup is satisfying during the cold months.

You'll find recipes that vary across the regions of Italy, but it's always some combination of fresh vegetables and a type of cooked beans. Some purists say it should only be made with bean broth, but others use a meat based stock, which I happen to like. For this recipe I used chicken stock and some of the bean broth, or more accurately chick pea broth.  Toss in a handful of al dente pasta just before serving. Top with a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano cheese and mangiare!

My Minestrone
3 stalks of celery
1/2 small white onion
3 carrots
2 medium sized zucchini
2 medium sized yellow squash
1/2 lb mushrooms
1 lg can diced tomatoes
2 cartons of organic chicken broth
2 cups of cooked chick peas
Fresh Basil
1/2 lb of pasta cooked al dente (add to the bowls when serving)

Dice the celery, onion, and carrots then add to your stock pot with about a tbsp of olive oil. Saute for about 5 minutes:

Slice mushrooms, quarter and slice the zucchini and yellow squash, and add to the pot. Cook until the vegetables start to sweat (this should be about 8-10 minutes):


Add the chicken stock and diced tomatoes:

Add the chick peas and 1 and 1/2 cups of that broth. I cooked mine in my pressure cooker, but you could certainly use canned (add the peas and the liquid), although fresh are much tastier. You can also cook chick peas on the stove in a heavy pan which takes about an hour and a half.

Simmer the soup for 1 hour over medium to low heat. Add chopped basil (I cut it with scissors) just before serving. Minestrone is satisfying when served with crusty Italian, or French bread. Enjoy! Anyone else out there making soup?

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