Monday, March 17, 2014

Classic Comfort Minestrone Soup

I know everybody has green on their mind and is feeling a little Irish today. Are you cooking corned beef and cabbage for dinner? I am sure that mom is going to be. Although I happen to love cabbage, I am not a super big fan of corned beef. Aside from scrambled eggs turned green, what else is on the menu today?

The weather has a little bit of a snap to it today and the wind is blowing something fierce. After a week and then a weekend of glowing sunshine, I am feeling a little bit of a throwback to winter time and I am thinking it is a perfect day for a big pot of soup. I think it feels like a minestrone day. No, it isn't Irish and it isn't green, but it sounds delicious and it is very easy and it can be super duper good for you. That meets all the check marks on my list today.

Minestrone is one of my favorite soups to make, it seems I am only limited by the contents of my pantry. You can add just about any vegetable / protein to a minestrone soup and have it take fantastic. I choose to make mine meatless with lots of beans, because I happen to love beans and I think they are perfect in soups. It is personal preference and you can put chicken, sausage or beef in yours. Anything goes! You are only limited by the contents of your pantry (or your willingness to run to the store).

Here is what ended up in mine:

2 tablespoons olive oil,
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (14.5 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1/4 head Savoy or green cabbage (1/2 pound), cored and thinly sliced
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil,
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, for serving

For variations on this classic version, try swapping zucchini for green beans, kale for cabbage, and any type of beans for the chickpeas and the cannellini beans.

It couldn't be easier to make -
In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrots, celery, red-pepper flakes, rosemary, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn golden, 5 to 8 minutes.
Add tomatoes; cook until some of the liquid evaporates, 1 minute. Add cabbage, beans, and 7 cups water; bring to a boil. Stir in green beans.
Reduce to a simmer, and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; stir in garlic, if using, and basil. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan and, if using, torn basil. Drizzle with more oil, if desired