Monday, May 28, 2012

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is probably one of my favorite soups- I have fond memories of eating the canned version (Progresso) whenever I needed a quick meal.  It wasn't until a couple years ago that I realized I could just make it myself!  It's a vegetarian soup but it's so filling you don't even think about it.  Between the vegetables, pasta, beans, and richness from the Parmesan rind this soup is truly a meal in itself.  Aside from the time it takes to prep the vegetables it's pretty easy to make. 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 potato, peeled (optional) and cubed (1/2 inch pieces)
2 carrots, diced
1 cup diced green beans (1 inch pieces)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans
1 can cannelini beans
1/2 cup peas
2 quarts chicken stock (or vegetable stock) plus 2 cups water
1 Parmesan cheese rind
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 cup uncooked ditalini (or other small pasta)
Salt and Pepper

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the celery and onion with 1 teaspoon salt.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Next, add the carrots and green beans.
 After a few more minutes, add the potatoes to the mixture.
Next, add the stock, water, tomatoes, and beans.  Bring to a simmer and add the Parmesan rind with a couple thyme sprigs.

After it has been simmering for about 15 minutes, add the pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes before serving.  Taste for more salt- it will probably need some if your stock is unsalted.  Also, add 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
You don't want the pasta to cook for too long or it will be mushy.  If you aren't planning to eat all of the soup in one sitting, another option is to cook the pasta separately and just add some to each bowl when serving.  Otherwise it will keep soaking up the broth as it sits in the fridge. This soup would be great with other vegetables as well- it's great for a cold or rainy day (not that we've had any recently)  Enjoy!

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