<Here in Hotlanta, Georgia, it’s hot all right – hot for winter, that is. So in an effort to entice Jack Frost to bring winter temps back, I dragged out my trusty minestrone soup recipe. My recipe for minestrone has been a standby in my home for quite some time and it’s healthy, easy and good for you. I’m sure I would love Italy because their food is my absolute favorite – pizza, pasta, bread. Yummmmmmmmmm. I’ve read that Italians eat very hot soup in the hottest part of the summer to cool down. Don’t know if that’s true but I can definitely relate. I like hot soup just as much in the summer as the winter.
The name “minestrone” supposedly came from the province of Minestra. In this region of Italy they refer to all soup as minestrone, not just the traditionally vegetable blend that we’re all familiar with – and naturally they claim to have the best minestrone soup on earth. Some minestrone recipes contain meat but here in the US it’s traditionally a vegetarian soup.
My Minestrone Soup Ingredients:
* 2 chopped carrots
* 1 sliced leek – this leek is critical; without the leek it won’t have that ‘minestrone flavor’
* 1 zucchini, sliced very thin and cut in half
* 1/4 pound of green beans cut into small pieces
* 3 T olive oil
* 1 pound chopped tomatoes or one large can of tomatoes
* 15 ounce can of cannelloni bean [include the liquid]
* 1 1/2 quarts of broth or stock
* 1/4 cup elbow macaroni
* 1 T fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Note on the ingredients: some minestrone soups include celery but I don’t like cooked celery so I don’t use it. Feel free to add it if so inclined. Also, I use whole wheat pasta which definitely isn’t traditional but is healthier.
Homemade Minestrone Soup Preparation:
1. Heat the olive oil on low heat and saute the leeks, green beans, carrots and zucchini.The heat really needs to be low both to increase the flavor of the soup and to retain as much nutrition in the veggies as possible. Cook the vegetables for about 15 minutes.
2. Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer for about half an hour.
3. Add the cannellini and the dry pasta and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is cooked but not mushy … al dente is the chef’s term. Are you impressed? :-) Add the fresh thyme in the last five minutes of cooking, the dried thyme about 15 minutes before completion.
4. Add salt and pepper, if desired.
This recipe for minestrone soup is quick, healthy, low calorie and delicious. Sprinkle on a dab of fresh parmesan, a slice of hot bread and a piece of fruit and you have an exquisite meal. Enjoy.