For those of you living up north, winter has already set in. Some of you have already welcomed in your first snowfall. I miss the snow and the crisp air from living most of my life in upstate New York. Let me retract that statement. After being in Florida for a couple of years now, I guess I really only miss the first snowfall and maybe one day of below freezing temperatures. After that, I only can think of “how many more days till spring”.
Don’t get me wrong, it gets cold here in the south too, but not as bad as up north. No matter where you live, when winter sets in, doesn’t soup come to mind. The can stuff works sometimes, but there is nothing like homemade hot soup. Even if you feel like you don’t have the time or think it’s too much trouble to make soup from scratch, you might want to think again after seeing how easy this recipe for Minestrone soup is. You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry, except for the cabbage and maybe the beans, but you can use what you have and make it your own like I did.
I actually stumbled on this quick and easy recipe from the October 2009 issue of Food Network Magazine, which happens to now be my favorite magazine (hope I get a subscription as a Christmas present this year). Anyway, inside the magazine was a little booklet with 50 easy soups. I took their recipe and doubled it to make extra and also put in a few of my own ingredients to change it a bit to my taste.
Here is my recipe, hope you give it a try. I’m sure you will love it as much as we did and make it over and over again throughout the winter.
Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and slice on diagonal
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, core removed and chopped into chunks
2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes, I like Italian diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can great northern white beans
2 32 ounce containers of chicken stock*, I like Kitchen Basic brand
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon dry parsley
1 teaspoon dry basil
Pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of small shell pasta or ditalini pasta, uncooked
In large pot, heat olive oil and then add in carrots, onions and celery, sauté until tender.
Add chopped cabbage to above mixture and continue to sauté until cabbage starts to look limp.
Stir in cans of diced tomatoes and can of beans.
Stir in chicken stock and herbs, bring to boil.
Once soup has reached full boil, lower temperature and simmer soup for 30 to 40 minutes to blend all the flavors together, season with salt and pepper if needed.
Before adding the pasta, bring soup back up to full boil and then add. Lower temperature after pasta has been added and let pasta simmer in soup for 8 to10 minutes or until pasta is to your liking.
*Last time I made this, I used one 32 ounce container of chicken stock and one 32 ounce container of beef stock (both Kitchen Basic stock). I actually think the Minestrone soup was better. Again use what you have in your pantry to make it work for you.Note: Pasta in soup has a tendency to absorb a lot of the broth. If you are reheating or soup looks dry, I just add more broth and simmer. Also I find it easier to chop up all my ingredients first, then adding to the pot goes quickly.
Source: Food Network Magazine, October 2009, Soup No. 20 Minestrone