Best Minestrone Soup

Minestrone

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, diced
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced in ¼” rounds
6 cups vegetable broth
1 796ml can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 769ml can crushed tomatoes
1 540ml canned kidney beans, drained
1 540ml can green beans, drained
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed and checked*
2 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
2 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoons dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup pasta, seashell or ditalini, or your favourite shape
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and sauté garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth, diced and crushed tomatoes and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, squash, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better. If the soup is too thick, or you would like more broth, you can add additional vegetable broth or water.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and add a heaping teaspoon of salt. You can omit the salt if you’re watching your sodium, but this is really your only chance to flavour the pasta itself. You could also add a teaspoon of bouillon to the water instead of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

* To learn how to check spinach, click here.

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Viva Italia!

Viva Italia

Well, so far we’ve gone Latino and New England, I thought, why not Italian? I love a hearty Minestrone soup, and it tends to fall into that category of Stew-oups that I mentioned before. Soups so chunky that they are almost stews! I love that Minestrone soup in particular tends to turn into a “kitchen-sink” recipe. What ever is left in your vegetable drawer in the fridge, add it in! Got cans of different veggies in the pantry? add them in! It really makes it easy for substitutions as well, as the recipe is not set in stone. You don’t HAVE to use both zucchini and yellow squash, one or the other will do. Don’t have kidney beans? Use navy beans, or chick peas. You’re really only limited by your imagination. To me, Minestrone soup is a tomato based broth with tons of chunky veggies and some pasta thrown in. Who’s to say which veggies they have to be, or which pasta? The good thing though is that it is so easy to make and so filling, that all you need is some nice crusty bread and a glass of vino and you’re set! Ciao Bella!