The unseasonable mild temps have gone and real winter weather has arrived with a low in the single digits today and a high of 20 degrees. The snow shovels were needed yesterday and the wind chill makes it feel mighty cold! And, after an assessment of pantry and refrigerator ingredients, making a pot of soup seemed a perfect idea on both counts.
A wonderful hearty bowl of Minestrone is warming, filling and delicious!
The great thing is that Minestrone is so versatile that you can use whatever you have on hand.
My goal was to use up some of the bags of dried beans and pasta I had accumulated in the cabinet. I had standard veggies in the crisper drawer and some peas in the freezer plus a wedge of Asiago cheese in the fridge. Oh, I love Asiago cheese!
Go ahead, check your pantry and fridge and I bet you have all you need to make a pot of soup. You want to have about 4 cups of veggies of your choice. I soaked and cooked half a bag of beans but still had more beans than I needed since I also wanted to add a can of kidney beans to the soup. Add pasta or rice if you like and any fresh herbs you have on hand. I have small pots of basil, sage and rosemary growing in a sunny southern window sill and it is just enough for winter cooking needs.
So, feel free to adjust the ingredients as you wish.
Yield: 6-8 servings
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2-quarts chicken broth
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry pasta, cooked (elbow, small shells or other small shaped pasta)
15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup frozen peas or green beans
2 cups dried beans, cooked and drained (or use canned beans)
a couple handfuls Spring Green Salad mix or baby spinach
2 Tbs. fresh herbs, chopped
adjust seasonings, if desired
grated Asiago cheese or Parmesan cheese
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in dutch oven over medium heat; add celery, onion and carrots and cook 5-8 minutes stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook an additional minute.
Add diced tomatoes with liquid, broth, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer gently 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Stir in cooked pasta, kidney beans, peas, cooked beans and Spring Green salad mix. Cook 5 minutes more.
Ladle hot into bowls and grate on cheese.
I filled almost 4 quart canning jars. Enough to eat, freeze and share :)