Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Best Minestrone Soup I've Ever Had

I know what you're all thinking (all two of you!). "Two posts in one week?! Is she MAD?!" Yes. I am. But that's neither here nor there. I'm here to talk to you about the single most important food group out there: Soup.



I have always been a soup fiend. When I go to restaurants, it's the thing on the menu that usually attracts me the most (and appetizers, my other favorite food group). I've often thought that if I were to go on any kind of diet, it would be a soup diet. In my opinion, there's just nothing more satisfying, more comforting, more spiritually uplifting then a big bowl of hearty soup.

Now here's the sad part of my story. I have rarely been successful at soup-making. I can make all kinds of foods and make 'em delicious, but soups are the only things that have seemed to allude me. Whether I was burning the chicken soup because I hadn't yet mastered the concept of "simmering," or making vegetable soup that was mysteriously bitter because I'd failed to remove the seeds from the tomatoes, I seemed to have my biggest cooking disasters when I attempted soup.



But tonight, all that changed. I now have a new and improved outlook on my soup-cooking abilities. Earlier in the week, I felt a hankering to cook. More importantly, I felt a hankerin' to make a big pot of soup. I hunted through all of my food blogs and a bunch of recipe websites and couldn't come up with anything that appealed to me AND had ingredients I'd heard of. So I checked in with my Facebook peeps (because I'm hardcore like that) and asked for some suggestions. A bunch of people gave some fun suggestions, but one friend really came through linking me to this fantastic recipe for minestrone soup.

Let me start by saying that while I know that the length of the ingredients list seems intimidating, these ingredients are all very easy to find, and you probably have a bunch of them in your cabinets already. So trust me, it's worth the splurge! :)

The soup comes out amazing. I have to admit that I usually don't like minestrone soup. Let me rephrase: I dislike the only minestrone soup I'd had before tonight. That being the Tabatchnik's brand. I actually usually am a huge fan of Tabatchnik's soup, especially their Tuscany Lentil Soup (about which my husband and I have actually composed an entire song), but their minestrone never appealed to me. But even though I'd been hurt by minestrone in the past, there was something about this recipe that really spoke to me. And I'm glad it did. It has an incredible depth of flavors and it's hearty and perfectly everything a good soup should be. Please trust me. Make this soup!




Jamie's Minestrone Soup:

{NOTE: Comments in these squiggly brackets are mine.}

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped {I used jarred}
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped celery {I decided to slice instead}
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional) {It says optional, but I STRONGLY recommend it. This adds SO MUCH to this soup. I used Kedem Red Cooking Wine.}
  • 1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can green beans
  • 2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
  • 3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano {I didn't have fresh oregano or basil, so I substituted dried and used a little less. Remember, fresh herbs take up more space than dried, so I used a little more than half a tablespoon.}
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup seashell pasta {You can use any kind of pasta. I used orzo}
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping {I nixed this. Alternatively, you could use pareve chicken flavored broth and include this. Up to you.}
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and saute garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth, water and tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired add red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better.
  3. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.
  4. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Spray with olive oil and serve.


Note: I served this with some pita from Pariser's Bakery and some chummus. I'd be willing to wager that this soup would also be great with a little beef in it.

1 comment:

Mrs. Pom said...

I had a very easy recipe for minestrone soup that even hubby was able to make and it tasted really yummy. have to find it!!