Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Minestrone Soup

Winter has been dull, gloomy and bitter cold this year. Initially, I thought I was the only one complaining about the weather, but then realized that many are awaiting for warmer weather. For a day in between, we had temperatures in the 70's and we spent our entire day out doors. It was a nice break from heavy winter coats and sweaters. We even managed do a little yard work.
Today was our first day of spring and I still don't see a break from winter. Although the day is a little longer, evenings are pretty miserable. I still cannot survive without my throw.
A hot bowl of Minestrone soup for was my favorite this winter season. I first tried this soup at "Olive Garden" many years ago and I think they serve the best.  I find it to be a complete meal with a combination of protein, vegetables and carbs.  I've made this soup several times and this recipe has been sitting in my inbox for a few months now. This one pot dish is a healthy and hearty dish for such weather. Hopefully, this will be our last one pot dish and we soon spring back to gardening and grilling.


1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 - 10oz box frozen spinach, defrosted
1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 can ( from 15 oz can)white beans (cannellini), rinsed under running water
1/2 can (from 15 oz can) red kidney beans (Rajma), rinsed under running water
3-4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup cooked pasta ( I used penne)
1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
a few basil leaves
Grated Parmesan (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

How it's made:

In a large heavy bottom pan, add oil. Once it heats, add onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Cook for 5 mins. Add canned tomatoes, beans, Italian seasoning, broth, salt and pepper. Boil and then lower heat and cook on low heat for 30-45 mins. Add pasta, spinach and zucchini. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Add basil. Adjust seasoning. Ladle into bowl and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Serves: 8

Note: This recipe works very well with slow cooker. Instead of cooking for 45 mins on gas, combine all the ingredients together (apart from pasta, spinach and zucchini) and cook on medium for about 3 hours. Then add pasta, spinach, zucchini and cook for another 30 minutes.
I like the combination of red and white beans. You may skip the red beans and add one can of white beans.

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