Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Pot of Comfort

There is something very comforting to me about making minestrone soup.  I remember the first year we were married being excited about buying the fresh vegetables at the produce stand and coming home to chop them up and put my first pot of minestrone on to cook.  My minestrone has come a long way since then and has evolved into something that is a winter favorite around our home.

As McGee woke up from his nap, I began to wash and chop the veggies.

McGee came wandering in with his blankie, climbed up on the stool and sat there watching me chop all the veggies and prepare dinner.  I said to him, "Don't you want to go play a little?"  He replied, "No.  I like to watch you cook Mommy.  You're a good cook Mommy and I like to watch you."  Ah, my heart melts.

A very special ingredient to our minestrone, a couple of pinches of Papa's Basil.  This actually is probably way past it's time, as it was made by Daddy's Papa Al, who passed away from a sudden heart attack two days before our wedding.  Yet I always add it anyway, if only to bring on some smiles.

Mmm...I love the way the house smells when something yummy is on the stove.

Mindy's Minestrone Soup

2 cups chicken broth (homemade is preferable, love my husband and his broth making skills!)
1 14 1/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 large onion diced
1 can tomato sauce (plus 2 cans full of water)
3 garlic cloves, pressed ( I LOVE my Pampered Chef garlic press!)
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tsp. dried and crushed basil
1 tsp. kosher salt
 1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup wine (I often use Chardonnay, but other varieties can be used with slight variation to the flavor)
1 15oz. can canellini beans (white kidney beans)
1 can cut green beans (fresh or frozen can also be used)
1 zucchini, sliced and chopped
1/2 package small elbow macaroni noodle, cooked al dente

 1/2 package sausage, sliced 1/4 inch think and then cut in 1/2

In a large pot add 1/2 tsp. olive oil and onions and saute for about a minute over high heat.  Add chicken broth, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, cans of water, carrots, celery, basil, salt, pepper and garlic (pressed cloves and powder).  Bring to a boil then reduce heat.  Add wine and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Rinse and drain beans, then add to pot as well as adding green beans and zucchini.  Bring to a boil again, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 10 to 15 more minutes.  In the meantime, brown the sausage.  Add sausage and pasta to pot and simmer 5 more minutes, or serve immediately if pasta is already warm.  Top with 2 T. finely shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese.

You can also add the pasta (uncooked) when you add the green beans and zucchini, I just prefer to cook mine separate and add it at the end or sometimes I even cook it and just add a handle of pasta per bowl of soup.  I've found this just preserves the flavor and the pasta doesn't soak up too much of the liquid and get waterlogged.  Also, if you do decide to cook the pasta with the soup, you will need to add more liquid (water or broth).  I also love minestrone because you can throw most anything in and it will taste great!  For example, I've also added swiss chard, broccoli or red kidney beans and they all taste great as well.  The recipe above is my standard one, but I do vary it depending on what ingredients are on hand.



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  1. yum! this looks soooo good right now! i have been in the rain all day and i need warmth..your soup is perfect!

  2. That looks so yummy and warm...thanks for the recipe! :)
    I love the "good to the last drop" bit :D

  3. Your minestrone soup was so good when we
    stopped by and you offered us a bowl. I love
    the pictures of Myles and his comments and
    the pictures of Emily enjoying the soup.

  4. I hope you all enjoy it during this wet and cold weather!

  5. YUM!! Thanks for posting this recipe!!! That looks SO good!!

  6. Looks yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe.