Minestrone for whatever ails you

20 Feb

Well, what do you do when you want a vegetable soup, but not just any vegetable soup? You make minestrone, the king of vegetable soups. The good thing about this recipe is that with the omission of the meat,  this becomes vegetarian; and with the omission of the cheese, it becomes vegan.

Ingredients

3 Tbl. olive oil

1/2 cup chopped bacon, ham or smoked turkey meat ( omit for meat free option)

1 cup onion, peeled and diced

1/2 cup  chopped celery, diced

1/2 cup green or red bell peppers, diced

3/4 cup chopped carrots, peeled and diced

1 cup zucchini, diced

2 tbl. chopped garlic (  add more if you like)

15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 cups packed chopped fresh escarole or chopped raw spinach

1 5 oz. can  drained and rinsed cannellini beans, or 1 cup cooked pasta ( bowtie, elbows, penne)

2 tbl.  chopped fresh parsley

Parmesan cheese for garnishing

Directions

Prepare all vegetables and meats, and measure out all liquids and seasonings before preparing soup. In a 3 gallon heavy bottomed stock pot, heat up the olive oil over medium heat.  ( If going meatless, skip the following step, and go to the next step) Saute bacon until crispy, or ham until browned slightly; being careful not to allow to burn, about 10 minutes. At this time, a brown substance may form on the bottom of the pot. This is called fond, and is valuable for flavoring soup. Do not allow fond to burn.

Add carrots, onions, celery, peppers, garlic and zucchini to the pot. Add I cup of the broth, and cook vegetables until wilted, about five minutes.  Add the rest of the broth, seasonings, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to simmer. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off any accumulated fat off of the surface  with a spoon.

Add the spinach or escarole, and the beans or pasta and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until greens are tender. Serve in bowls with generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top.

Enjoy!

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2 Responses to “Minestrone for whatever ails you”

  1. brotherkomrade February 25, 2009 at 1:48 am #

    Thank you so much for this! I’m sorry that I’m just now getting the chance to get the recipe, but I’m cooking this for Wifey on Monday.

    Thanks again.

    • culinarychick February 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

      Hit me back if you have any questions!
      Good Luck,

      CC

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