Sunday, March 13, 2011

Winter Minestrone

It is cold and raining here AGAIN so I decided to make this hearty flavorful soup to warm me up.
This soup takes a little bit of prep but it really is a pretty quick dish. I usually cut up all my Vegetables earlier in the day so when the time comes I am all ready to go.
Here is what you will need,
1 whole onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large potato, cubed
2 small zucchini, chopped
3 cups of butternut squash, cubed
2 tbsp. olive oil
14 oz can of tomatoes, with juice (you can whole ones and chop them or use already chopped if you prefer)
1 quart of chicken stock
1 can cannellini beans (or any bean you like)
4 cups chopped spinach
½ cup dried pasta, any small shape will do, i used mini bows.
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
4-5 tbsp. basil pesto (you can make your own but I just used the store bought Classico stuff!)
1 tsp. thyme
2-3 tbsp. tomato paste or ketchup
1 Parmesan cheese rind
Salt/pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat the oil and saute the onion, celery, carrots and garlic until starting to soften and fragrant. About 5-7 minutes. Then add in the potatoes, zucchini, butternut squash and can of tomatoes. Stir. Add in chicken broth, thyme, tomato paste, pesto and Parmesan cheese rind. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the veggies, if not add a little water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer until veggies are cooked through, 20-30 minutes. Then add the pasta the beans, parsley and spinach. Simmer another 15-20 minutes until the pasta is cooked. Adjust seasoning to your taste and remove the Parmesan cheese rind.
Serve with a piece of crusty bread. It doesn't get more comforting than this. It also makes a great lunch for work the next day.
As much as I love all of the comfort food dishes I have been making lately I think its time for it to start getting warmer and sunnier so I can start grilling and making salads and drinking Mojitos!
Come on Spring!

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