Friday, October 10, 2008

Coco's Sunday Minestrone

Remember when I told you about my favorite things to make on a fall day? You don’t? Let me remind you….today its all about the soup. (No not THE Soup on E! ), my soup. One soup I love the most is Minestrone. Sometimes, I’m not feeling it for meat, but this soup is hearty enough to be a meal especially if you add beans which are full of fiber and protein.

The thing is, I quit buying canned soup 2 years ago. No offense to the soup companies, but I was never one for canned vegetables anyway, and I really don’t care for the astronomical amounts of salt they put in them. (Take a look at the label, it’s nearly a whole days worth of sodium). With a husband who has to watch his salt intake, I am very mindful of what I put on our table. What can I say…I need him to stick around to enjoy the next 90 years with me. But trust me, once you take a stab at making homemade soup, you will never look back.

It’s an easy fix so I can start this in the morning and let it simmer on low while I do other things around the house or kitchen. I make this often, especially on weekends while I am baking in the kitchen. In addition, you can ladle this into individual sized airtight containers, and freeze it for up to 3 months. How is that for an instant lunch or dinner?

Let’s get this soup ON!

(I may be a stickler for canned veggies, but I haven’t found reason to be for frozen as of yet. So feel free to buy frozen if that is what is available especially since it makes prep a snap! You can also interchange any bean or vegetable that you like.)


Coco’s Sunday Minestrone

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook time: 2 hrs.

½ C. Chopped Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
2 T. Butter
3 T. Olive Oil
2 C. Chicken Stock or Broth (I make mine home made, but use good quality STOCK in a box or LOW sodium Broth)
1 Can of Diced Tomatoes (Italian Roma are nice too)
2 T Tomato Paste (to thicken it)
1 Can White Northern Beans, or Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed. (You can use fresh by following the package directions, but some of us have to draw the line somewhere on our time)
1 12oz. bag of mixed frozen vegetables. (look for something with carrots, zucchini, lima bean mix. Sometimes its called Italian blend).
2 Carrots, sliced (use your judgment, we love carrots in our house, so I always add a lot, you can also use frozen if that is easier)
1 Bag Spinach Chopped
¼ -1/2 C. Small noodles (shells, elbows or whatever you like)
2-3 leaves Fresh Basil
1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary
2 leaves Fresh Sage
Parsley
Salt/Pepper to taste
My secret: 1 small Parmesan rind (optional, but if you can add this it really makes a difference in taste)
Heavy Cream
Freshly grated parmesan


Directions:

Heat oil and butter in large heavy bottomed soup pot (preferably non-aluminum as this will react with the tomato sauce, and give you a metal taste), while heating add Onion and chopped garlic. Cook until onion is translucent. Be careful not to burn garlic or butter.


Garlic, going in

Cooking the onions down


If you are cooking with frozen or fresh vegetables, add them now and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 5-6 Minutes.

Frozen Vegetables I found




Saute these until soft
If you are using fresh herbs, you may add them here and cook on low/med for 1 additional minute. [I’m telling you, GOOD ingredients MAKE a difference, use the fresh herbs the flavor will be 100% better]. If you are using dry herbs, wait until the other ingredients are in.


Sage


Rosemary



Basil


Open all cans (beans, tomatoes). Pour tomatoes in WITH the juices.






Pouring the Tomatoes in



Drain and rinse the beans before adding these.


Adding the beans


Add Chicken Stock. [The reason you want low sodium broth is because YOU want to be able to control the salt to taste]



Adding the homemade stock. Notice how amber colored it is.



Add chopped spinach and stir. Add Parmesan rind here. Add dry herbs if using. Add Salt and pepper. Cover and Cook for 1.5 hours on simmer (LOW).



Spinach and Parmesan Rind




Adding the Spinach and some tomato paste from a tube


After cooking for 1.5 hours, add the noodles. Cover and continue to simmer for 30 Minutes. You could ALSO add cheese tortellini as an alteration for a Soup main course.


I like these little Ditalini noddles




The soup after cooking the noodles

Check for taste, if you need additional herbs or Salt and pepper add that. Remove Parmesan Rind. Add Heavy cream to taste (1/4 cup – ½ cup), OR add it to individual bowls. Serve with freshly grated parmesan on top.



2 comments:

chou said...

Sunday at your house sounds lovely. I love fall because it's the perfect excuse to make lots of soup.

Sweet as Coco said...

Oh thanks! I always look forward to Sunday's. Its just always been 'our' day to just be home. I agree, fall is when I always make soups. Maybe because of all the great flavors I have to work with.