Happy Meatless Monday!
I love soup eating weather. There's nothing like something hearty and simple as soup dinners. Today I can honestly say is soup eating weather in SoCal. We have cloudy skies, possible chance of rain and cold weather just looming around the entire day. I love this weather because it's makes you want to stay home and cuddle on the sofa with your special someone. Maybe even have a fire going in your fireplace. Very romantical, huh.
To keep the romance going, an easy one pot dinner to eat up while cuddling up on the sofa. Minestrone soup is one of my favorites to make because it's like a kitchen sink of veggies and it makes plenty. It's a light saute of the vegetables and then you add the chicken stock and let the flavors meld together. My soup trick is to add a parmigiano rind that I have saved in the freezer into the soup, it just adds another layer of parmigiano cheesiness that I love. If you don't have one, just add layers of shaved parmigiano rinds into the soup.
Serve with a nice crusty piece of bread like sourdough or French and that tall glass of wine that you need after a long hard day.
Hearty and savory.
Adapted from Prevention RD
3 oz small pasta, any shape you like (farfalle, rigatoni, macaroni)
4.5 cups low-sodium vegetable, chicken stock or broth
1 medium-large onion, diced
4 medium or 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large stalks celery, diced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices or about 6 to 7 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tsp minced fresh thyme (or 1/3 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried Italian herb seasoning
1 (15 oz) can beans (such as cannellini, garbanzo, or kidney), drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
Freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (for garnish)*
(And if you happen to save the parmigiano-reggiano cheese rind - I use it to give it an extra flavor to the soup). **Optional**
In a 3-quart pot with a lid, combine stock, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, Italian herb seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Bring up to a boil and add the pasta and cheese rind. Cover (leaving lid slightly ajar), turn heat down to a simmer, and cook until veggies are tender (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Add zucchini, beans, and cooked pasta and cook a couple minutes.. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve garnished with freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano (use a vegetable peeler) if desired.
Yield: 10 cups.
Review: This was a great and easy meal to prepare and I don't even miss proteins in this soup. The cannellini or garbanzo beans are a healthy boost of protein. Since this made about 10 servings, I was able to freeze half of the soup for another rainy romantic day.