Minestrone

Some of you are probably clicking away because you see way too many ingredients in the above picture.  If you do, its your loss. For those of you who stay, you will be rewarded with an ideal soup for a nasty winter day (which we just so happen to be amidst).  This recipe for minestrone comes via Larry Tucker, who you will often find floating around most of the better music shows in the area. Super nice guy. As for the original source, only Larry can answer that (and maybe he will if he reads this).

Here’s the original:

1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 cups tomato broth (liquid from drained canned tomatoes, an equal dilution of tomato juice and water, or water flavored with tomato paste or Tomato Cubes)
2 carrots, diced
1/2 pound potatoes, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 small (6- to 8-ounce) zucchini, diced
1/2 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni, small sheels or broken spaghetti
1 cup cooked beans
2-1/2 cups shredded greens (spinach, romaine, chard, chicory, etc.)
grated Parmesan cheese

Saute garlic briefly in oil. Add onion and cook until softened. Add tomato broth, carrots, celery, potatoes, salt, and remaining seasonings. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes longer, or until vegetables are quite tender. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Makes 1-1/2 quarts; serves 6 to 8

and Larry suggests the following modifications:

1 large can of chopped tomatoes (28 oz), 1 carton of beef stock and 1 carton of vegetable stock… in place of the tomato broth concoction.
3 carrots (versus 2).
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and 1 can greens beans, rinsed… in place of the cup of cooked beans.
finely shredded romaine, spinach or one can spinach… in place of the 2-1/2 cups of shredded greens.

I pretty much follow Larry’s interpretation, although I have tinkered with various broth mixtures.  I’ve used all vegetable, all beef and in my last version I used one vegetable and one of the chicken broths from the poached chicken. None of these combinations appear to sway the overall taste too far in any direction.

I’ve yet to try whole wheat elbow macaroni, but I always do use elbows. Can’t imagine this with broken spaghetti. Taste might be the same, but the presentation?!? And no, there is no need to cook the macaroni before adding it into the soup.  In one brain dead night, I did such a silly thing… wasting time and a clean pot.

I always go with canned spinach because… well… the beans are canned, so what’s one more can?

With so many ingredients, I prefer to chop, dice, etc. everything upfront and set it aside into three groups. The initial group of onion and garlic, the first set of vegetables, broth and spices and then the second set of vegetables.  Otherwise, I end up getting all confused over where I am in the process.

I do change the order on the garlic and onions. I cook the onions first and then the garlic, because the garlic only takes a minute.  Otherwise, the garlic can end up overcooked (burnt garlic is not a taste to experience).

The recipe states that the final round of cooking is 20 to 30 minutes. I lean towards the 30 if you have the luxury.

Absolutely, positively do not omit the Parmesan cheese. And a hunk of crusty bread is nice addition if you have it.

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~ by Genevieve on 2010.01.31.

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