Monday, April 8, 2013

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone 3

I know, spring is here and my soup making days are numbered. I do live in New England, so even though sping has sprung, it's still pretty chilly here.

I feel sad when soup season is over. I miss it when the warmer weather hits. I know you can still make and eat soup during the spring and summer, but when the temps begin to rise, soup is not the first thing on my "to make" list.

So I'm holding out on the last chilly days here in Rhode Island and I'm still making soup.

Minestrone 2

I saw Ina Garten make this a few weeks back and I instantly wanted a bowl of it.

She served this with garlic bruschetta which looked delicious also, but I skipped the bruschetta this time.

I didn't have a butternut squash so I substituted frozen turnips. My kids think they are potatoes. I've been putting them in soups for years and they still haven't caught on.

We really loved this soup. Filled with yummy veggies, beans and a whole bunch of spinach it was healthy and hearty all at the same time.

This was a bowl full of goodness.

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Minestrone Soup
recipe from Ina Garten
Good olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch-diced
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash (I used frozen turnips)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti
8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup good dry white wine
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it's too thick, I add more chicken stock.

Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.
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