Your Daily Dish: Best Vegetable Minestrone Soup
As typically Italian as Fiat and Benetton, this rich- tasting soup transports us to Firenze. No, not Florence, Italy – the strip mall ristorante that ignited our childhood love for all things Italian, especially frescos of naked and boozing burly men and voluptuous women. Titillating for sure, but nothing grabbed our attention more than Mary’s minestrone. As soon as she’d set down the steaming, vegetable-packed rich broth, focus turned to the full-bodied soup. Now, though Mary and her minestrone are gone, we’ve got her legendary soup recreated to perfection…only thing missing is the bacchanalian mural.
3 tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 medium celery stalks, chopped
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
5 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz/796ml) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups fresh baby spinach
11/2 cups canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 large zucchini, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked seashell pasta
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 small garlic clove
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat and sauté garlic and onion for 4-5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, sautéing for an additional 5 minutes.
2)Add broth, diced tomatoes (with liquid) and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn to low and add red wine, spinach, kidney beans, zucchini, basil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
3) Add cooked pasta and simmer for 2-3 minutes to combine flavors.
4) For the pesto sauce, place basil leaves and garlic in a food processor and process until leaves are finely chopped. Add pine nuts and process until nuts are finely chopped. Add cheese and salt, processing until combined. With the machine running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream until the oil is incorporated.
*This sauce yields 1/3 cup and, if you’re not using it immediately, store it covered in the refrigerator to prevent the sauce from turning brown.
5) Drizzle 1 tsp of pesto sauce over each bowl of soup.
Bite me Bit: “Holy minestrone!”- Sally Field as Gidget
Short on time but craving a bowl of comfort? Try this Tomato Soup topped with Parmesan Dumplings, a flavorful and elegant soup perfect for every occasion.
Whether it’s cruising the aisles at the Dollar Store or experimenting at the stove, we believe that every day can be a holiday.