I made this for dinner last night...:thumbsup:
It's hard to make a mistake when making minestrone
Thursday, November 09, 2006 Associated Press
Never mind that hearty vegetable soups are great for warming up during this increasingly chilly time of year. Or that they can pack tons of healthful produce and beans into a lean, savory package.
The real strength of soups such as this minestrone from Nava Atlas' "Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons" is that they are so easy to make and so hard to mess up.
Soups are among the most forgiving of foods, readily accepting just about anything you care to toss in and delivering a hearty, satisfying meal layered with complex flavors.
:thumbsup: ***Though delicious as written, this minestrone is easily adapted to whatever is on hand. No potatoes? Try sweet potatoes. Or turnip or squash. And kidney or navy or even black soy beans would stand in nicely for the chickpeas. ***
Makes 8 servings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium celery stalks, diced
Handful of celery leaves, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
16-ounce can salt-free diced toma toes (not drained)
1 cup salt-free tomato sauce
¾ cup dry red wine (optional)
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preparation: In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-low heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to saute until both are golden.
Add the carrots, celery and leaves, and potatoes. Add just enough water to cover the ingredients. Stir in the to matoes, tomato sauce, wine (if us ing), bay leaves and Italian season ing. Bring to a rapid simmer, then cover, lower heat to simmer and cook 20 to 25 minutes, or until vege tables are just tender.
Add the chickpeas, peas and parsley. Add water if soup has become too thick. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer another 20 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables are completely tender.
Presentation: Discard bay leaves and serve.
Nutrition information per serving: calories, 130; protein, 5 grams; fat, 3 grams; carbohydrates, 24 grams; sodium, 190 milligrams; fiber, 6 grams.
Source: Recipe from Nava Atlas' "Veg etarian Soups for All Seasons," Am berwood Press, 2006, $15.95.
Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs
A scattering of freshly grated cheese adds a welcome layer of flavor to many dishes. Mellow and nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the best cheeses for grating, but it is not the only option. Pecorino romano, a sharp sheeps milk cheese, is another good choice; or try milder cows milk Asiago or dry jack. When grating, use a rotary grater or the smallest rasps of a box grater in order to reduce the cheese to the smallest particles and ensure a smooth incorporation into the dish.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds 1/2 inch
2 celery stalks, cut into slices 1/2 inch thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chopped kale leaves
1 cup dry red wine
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped into 1-inch
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 can (19 oz.) cannellini or white kidney beans
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt, to taste, plus 1/2 tsp. salt
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 lb. ground chicken
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus
more, to taste
In a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and tomato and bring to a boil. Stir in the stock, water and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and simmer until well flavored, about 1 hour. During the last 10 minutes, drain the beans, rinse with cold running water and drain again, then add to the pot along with the basil. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. Discard the bay leaf.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the chicken, half of the cheese, the bread crumbs, egg, the 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Increase the heat under the soup to medium and bring to a light boil. Drop rounded tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the soup. Their texture will firm up on contact with the hot liquid. Cover and cook until the meatballs are cooked through, about 12 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and black pepper.
Ladle into warmed individual bowls and serve hot. Pass the remaining cheese at the table. Serves 8
Garden Minestrone...this is GOOD stuff!
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chopped yellow squash
3 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
4 cups chopped tomato, divided
3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (very short tube-shaped macaroni)
1 (15.5-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in squash, zucchini, carrot, and corn; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.
Place 3 cups tomato and 1 can broth in a blender; process until smooth. Add tomato mixture to pan; return pan to heat. Stir in remaining 1 cup tomato and remaining 2 cans broth; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add pasta and beans to pan; cook 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Ladle soup into individual bowls; top with cheese. Garnish with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups soup and 2 tablespoons cheese)
Oh, yummy...would have been perfect today with the Nor'Easter
in our area. It was a bit chilly, windy, and lots of rain.
Although there is no authentic list of ingredients, Italian cooks say it’s possible to tell where a minestrone was made by what it contains. You can generally expect a bowl of minestrone to have carrots, onion, celery and beans, but if the soup (or zuppa) was prepared in the northern part of the country, there will also be rice. Along the Riviera, minestrones are seasoned with fresh herbs, and in southern Italy, they are made with tomatoes, garlic and pasta. Ligurian cooks on the Gulf of Genoa, where fresh basil is plentiful, use lots of vegetables in their minestrones and garnish them with pesto.
The word minestrone refers to a large or rich minestra, which describes a thick soup. According to culinary historians, ships in the port of Genoa once acted as floating soup kitchens and served minestrone to sailors who anchored alongside in small boats.
We had no specific region in mind when we made our version of minestrone, but we wanted it filled with vegetables and still be soup. When we read about minestrones, we learned there is a technique to preparing them and that they are not for cooks in a hurry.
When making minestrone, there is a lovely sequence and rhythm to the process. The vegetables are gradually added to the pot; while some are being prepared, others are sautéeing. Italian cookbook writer and teacher, Marcella Hazan, says this produces a better soup. Another thing that helps the flavor is a long cooking time; Italians cook their minestrones for hours. At the very least, the soup should simmer one hour, preferably two. However, the cooking can be done in stages. We served some of our minestrone after an hour on the stove, refrigerated the rest overnight and simmered it again the next day.
After the second round of servings, we froze the leftovers. Minestrone is very accommodating, and for busy cooks, it’s probably perfect.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1 celery stalk, diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 medium potatoes (about 3/4 pound), unpeeled and diced
3 cups thinly sliced Savoy cabbage
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions 1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, 6 minutes or until softened. Add carrots and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except cheese. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently 1 to 2 hours. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.
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