22 September 2012

Minestrone Soup

I love minestrone. It's probably one of my favorite soups. But for some reason, I've never tried to make it.


I recently bought two new cookbooks, and one of them had a recipe for minestrone. I looked it over, but it was lacking a few things that my favorite restaurant minestrone has, so I decided to give the recipe a try with a few adaptations.

{enjoy the view} Minestrone Soup
printable version

Ingredients:

2-3 TBSP. olive oil
1 med. onion, finely chopped
2 med-lg. carrots, sliced (or 1-2 cans)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 med. potatoes, diced (or 1 can)
1 c. frozen cut leaf spinach (not chopped)
14.5 oz. can beef broth
3 packets Swanson's Flavor Boost™ Beef
1 c. water
15 oz. can cannelloni beans
15 oz. can garbanzo beans
28 oz. can tomato puree
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese (or Italian blend cheese)
Ditalini pasta

Optional:

2 TBSP. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef (or your meat of choice)
1 heaping tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. garlic powder


Heat olive oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, carrots, and celery; cook until softened. 


Add spinach and potatoes; cook until spinach is thawed. 


Add beef broth, Flavor Boost™ Beef packets, water, both cans of beans, tomato puree, basil, salt, and pepper.


Simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours. (I simmered mine for 4-5 hours.)


When done, add Parmesan cheese and stir. When serving, you can also top each bowl with more cheese if desired.
If you want to add ground beef (or sausage, or whatever meat you like):

  1. Heat 2 TBSP. olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add minced garlic and brown slightly.
  3. Add ground beef, then sprinkle the garlic powder over it.
  4. Stir occasionally until meat is cooked and crumbled.
  5. Add to soup at any stage.
Pasta:

Ditalini is the traditional pasta used for minestrone, but you can really use any pasta you like. Barilla is my preferred brand. I don't add the pasta until we're ready to eat the soup - that way, it doesn't get soft and soggy. Just cook the pasta according to the package directions and add to the soup.


Doesn't this look yummy? Gus and Buddy loved it - and so did I!


I had enough left to freeze - I did a 3 serving bag and a single serving bag.

To freeze:
Place cooled soup in freezer ziploc bags or other container. Mark date on container - it should be good in the freezer for 5-6 months.
To cook after freezing:
  1. Thaw until slightly slushy, then reheat, simmering, for 20-30 minutes.
  2. While the soup is heating, you can prepare the pasta according to the package directions.
  3. Drain the pasta, and add to simmering soup.
  4. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese in individual bowls, if desired.
(adapted from Don't Panic More Dinner's in the Freezer Four Cheese Italian Minestrone)
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