Minestrone

Start the soup off by heating in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or large dutch oven over medium-high heat:
3 tablespoons of olive oil
When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add:
1 medium-to-large onion, diced (1/2 inch)
3 medium carrots, sliced (1/4 inch)
3 celery stalks, sliced (1/4 inch)
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
Saute the vegetables until they begin to soften, adding:
2-3 pinches of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

With soups, you want to build flavor from the very beginning, and you are laying the foundation with the mixture you have started. Next, add:
1 large can of diced tomatoes (with juice)
Stir to combine and heat through. At this point, you can lower the heat and add fresh or dried herbs to taste. Just remember you want to add to the flavor, but not overwhelm it, so go eay at first and adjust at the very end (or the next time you make it). For minestrone, I like a combination of Italian herbs, including rosemary, basil, and oregano. I also like thyme a lot, so I add some of that, too. Once you have your herbs in the pot, add:
6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
From here on out, the soup is up to you and what ingredients look good at the market. The typical things I use are (in order of cooking time):

Potatoes
Green and/or wax beans
Zucchini and/or summer squash
Canned Cannellini beans
Spinach or kale

Please don’t limit yourself. Be creative and make a minestrone with what you like. Though I have made it easy here to create a vegetarian meal, I often brown a little ham or Canadian bacon in the olive oil before adding the base vegetables. Some people love a little pasta (like orzo or ditalini) in their soup, and it is a good way to stretch this recipe for a big crowd. There is an old tradition of adding the rind from a wedge of parmesan to the soup when you add the stock, which adds salty flavor and a faint nuttiness to the soup. If you happen to remember to save the rind from the cheese, do add it! If you have some pesto on hand, it is a fantastic last-minute addtion. Once you start making minestrone, you’ll find yourself craving it from time to time and before you know it, you’ll never need to look at a recipe again!

Advertisements

One thought on “Minestrone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: