Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tuscan Minestrone Soup

As much as I love creamy soups, they're not something I prepare at home often. If I'm going to have a pot of soup in my fridge for a few days, I'd rather have it be something healthier. This soup is filled with so many veggies that you never feel guilty about eating a second or third bowl in one evening. Yes, there is cheese on top, but what soup is complete without that? I love that this soup is vegetarian, yet leaves you feeling full and satisfied. I leave my soup thick and chunky, but you can add more broth or water to it if you prefer your soups runnier. Sometimes I puree half of the soup and mix it back into the pot to create a texture that is rich and smooth, but also hearty. Dunk in some sliced crusty French bread, and you have yourself a perfect winter meal.

This recipe does not have to be followed to a tee. The original recipe uses dried white beans, but to make things simpler, I just use the canned variety. The one thing that add lots of flavor is the fresh rosemary, so try to avoid dried rosemary if you can. After sautéing the vegetables, your kitchen will smell great from the onions and rosemary. This is when I start to get impatient since the second I smell good food I am instantly hungry. The longer you can keep your spoon out of the pot, the more flavor your soup will have. I cook the soup longer than the recipe asks for, but it only makes the final product even better.

Adapted from Carol Field via Soup's On
Serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 springs fresh rosemary
5 teaspoons tomato paste
1 small head of savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
small bunch of kale (about 10 ounces), thinly sliced
3 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
3 zucchini, thinly sliced
small handful of fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
12 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
Parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on soup

Heat the oil in a large, deep pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and rosemary. Sauté until the vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Pour the chicken (or vegetable) broth into the pot. Mix in the tomato paste, cabbage, kale, leeks, zucchini, basil, and parsley. Add some salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture is too dense for your liking, add some hot water. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 60 minutes. Add the beans, cover, and continue to simmer another 30 minutes. Serve with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Pin It Now!

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