Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Soup of the Day: Minestrone

I usually associate minestrone with summertime, especially July and August, but today as I contemplated what would be the first offering in Soup of the Day, minestrone was on my mind, in my heart, and I couldn't wait to get to it. As the garlic, basil and onion simmered with a few spices, I knew I had made the right choice. Perhaps we just need a quick vitamin C fix, or maybe we need some of the sunshiny goodness that minestrone always brings with it, but in any event, here it is. Slow simmered, aromatic and enticing, filling the house with savory promise.

Wintertime Ingredients
Four boxes (32 ounces each) organic chicken broth
Two cans (28 ounces each) organic diced tomatoes
Two jars (24 ounces each) organic tomato sauce
Two cans (15 ounces each) canelli or other white bean, rinsed and drained< br /> 1/4 c. diced garlic
1 onion, diced
3 Tablespoons leaf oregano, dried
3 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
olive oil
diced celery
chopped vegetables of your choice (frozen is fine, but I would avoid canned): I'm a big fan of carrots, potatoes, broccoli and green beans, but I firmly believe that minestrone is Italian for leftovers, so pretty much whatever needs cooking is going to get thrown in, and be all the better for it.
Two cups elbow macaroni or other pasta

Simmer garlic, onion, celery, oregano, salt, pepper and basil in olive oil until onion is transparent. Stir in broth, sauce and tomatoes and bring to a healthy simmer. Let cook for an hour or so, and then bring to a boil again, adding in the pasta and more black pepper and salt as desired. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes more, stirring frequently. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of cold, fresh milk.

This makes a gallon or so of soup, which is especially helpful for hectic nights as well as big crowds -- it stores well in the freezer, is even better the next day, and freezes like a champ.

Storing Vegetables without Plastic