Minestrone Soup

March 11th, 2011

This soup is a perfect example of a one pot meal.  Minestrone in Italian means “the big soup” (one with many ingredients). It is often made with vegetables with the addition of rice or pasta. There is no right or wrong in the soup’s ingredients, since it can have any vegetables that is in season and can be with or without meat.

The recipe that I make is from one of the cookbook magazine (I don’t remember the name). It is a vegetarian recipe made with vegetable broth. One recipe of this soup yields a big amount; hence it is a perfect party pleaser. The recipe also freezes well. I usually make a batch of it and freeze them in individual serving size containers. To thaw it, simple leave it overnight in the refrigerator or if in a hurry, drop it in a pot of hot water and transfer it to a saucepan and reheat. To microwave, transfer it to a microwave safe container and heat.

Preparation time – 1 hr
Cooking time – 1 ½ hrs
Difficulty level – Medium


Ingredients (Makes 16 -20 servings)

  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp 
  • Onions (Chopped) – 2 cups
  • Garlic (Minced) – 4 cloves
  • Celery (Chopped) – 2 cups (about 4 stalks)
  • Cut Green beans – 2 cups (around ½ inch pieces)
  • Corn kernels – 1 ½ cups
  • Carrots (Thinly sliced) – 1 cup
  • Basil – 1 tbsp (Fresh) or 1 tsp (dried)
  • Oregano – 1 tbsp (Fresh) or 1 tsp (dried)
  • Rosemary – 1 tbsp (Fresh) or 1 tsp (dried)
  • Vegetable broth – 56 Fl oz
  • Kidney beans – 1 (15 Oz) can (drained)
  • Zucchini – 1 medium (about 1 cup)
  • Chopped seeded Tomatoes/canned diced tomatoes – 4 cups
  • Elbow macaroni – 2/3 cup uncooked
  • Tomato sauce (no salt added) – 1 (8 Oz) can
  • Shredded green cabbage – 2 cups
  • Escarole (Chopped) – 1 cup
  • Salt – 3/4tsp or as needed
  • Pepper – ¾ tsp or as needed
  • Grated Asia go/Parmesan cheese – as needed

Procedure

  • Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 mins. Add the celery and next nine ingredients (through Zucchini). Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 mins.
  • Add tomato, macaroni and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 mins or until pasta is done.
  • Add the cabbage, escarole, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 mins or until the cabbage wilts. Ladle soup into bowls, top with cheese and serve!!!

Hints and tips

  • Vegetables I used in the soup are purely based on my choices. One can add or take out any vegetables, without altering the taste of the soup, For example, I used escarole, just to have an ingredient that I don’t use often. If one does not like it or is not available, either substitute it with spinach or omit it.
  • Using vegetable broth is very critical for the taste of the soup. I have tried making the soup with water, and it no where tastes closer to the one with the broth. One can always add additional water to get the soup to the required consistency.
  • As I mentioned earlier, this soup freezes well. Reheat it over stove top or microwave and it tastes as good as freshly made.

Hope this soup melts off the cold and warms up everyone’s heart 🙂

Happy Cooking !!!

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