I have always been a fan of Minestrone soup. Beans, veggies, and pastini dancing around in a rich tomato broth... mm... makes me warm just thinking about it. I decided I would make a nice big pot of Minestrone soup this week and bring half to a friend of mine who recently had a baby, so I gathered my collection of cookbooks and started leafing through them and found nothing that sounded like Minestrone as I like it. At first I was distressed by this, then I did what any good megatarian would do.
Made the recipe up.
And so, to my best approximations, here is my recipe for Minestrone soup. It yields about 4 quarts of soup, so cutting this in half is not a bad idea if you aren't serving an army (but it sure is a cheap way to feed an army!!). It freezes well too...
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
2-3 stalks celery, cut into the same size as the carrots
1 idaho potato, diced
1 small to medium zucchini, diced
1 1/2 cups green beans, ends trimmed cut into 1" pieces
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
1 small can tomato paste
2 quarts vegetable broth
A few handfuls baby spinach
1 cup pastini (small pasta), cooked according to package directions -- minus about two minutes so they're still fairly al dente
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1. In a giant pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat then add the carrots, celery, potato and garlic, give it a good stir, cover, and let it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are bright and slightly tender.
2. Add the broth, tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the tomato paste dissolves.
3. Add the canned beans, green beans and zucchini and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the veggies are tender.
4. Stir the pasta, baby spinach, and parsley into the simmering soup about 5 minutes prior to serving.