If you are a follower of my Project 365 blog, 365 Daze to 40 , you would have seen this picture:
or maybe the title of this post gave it away.
Today is all about soup here in Kristen's Kouzina. Homemade, from scratch, super hearty, healthy, Minestrone! Can I just tell you how wonderful my house smells right now!!!
So you start with the ingredients shown above:
* extra virgin olive oil
* medium onion, diced
* 3 - 4 garlic cloves, minced
* medium zucchini, diced
* 2 - 3 carrots, diced
* 2 cans diced tomatoes
* 1 can cannellini beans
* 1 box vegetable broth
* fresh basil, to taste, rough chopped
* 1 tsp. bouquet garni seasoning
* 1/3 cup elbow macaroni
* bunch of baby spinach, torn and stems removed
* hot sauce, to taste
* sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Heat about 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil in large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and carrot; saute about 5 minutes till the onion is translucent.
Add the 2 cans of tomatoes, box of veggie broth, basil, and bouquet garni.
Add a pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer ten minutes.
Add pasta, cover and simmer ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add all remaining ingredients and more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and reduce heat to low.
Let simmer for about 20 minutes while you breathe in the delicous aroma.
A few notes:
* You definitely do not have to use Bouquet Garni. It happened to be what I had on hand and I have used it in soups before. I have also used Italian Seasoning when making this, too.
* You could certainly use chicken broth if it is what you have on hand. I prefer to keep it vegetarian so use veggie broth. And I prefer organic, fat free, low sodium broth.
* You can use regular spinach if you wish. I just really like baby spinach, and again I prefer organic.
* You can definitely use Kosher salt in place of sea salt. I just always cook with sea salt. But use a light hand. A little goes a long way. I start with the teeniest, tiniest pinches of salt. You can always add more if needed, but can't take it out once it is in there.
* Please please please use fresh basil! There is nothing like it! If I were making this soup in the spring I would use ALL fresh herbs from my garden. But even in winter, I will always splurge and buy fresh basil at the store.
* Ditto for black pepper. Get a grinder and grind it fresh while you are cooking. That nasty pepper dust stuff that you see in shakers just plain sucks!
* Because I do not have the patience or the time to soak dried beans overnight and all, I do buy canned. But I buy low-sodium when possible, and I rinse the crap out of them to get as much sodium and can gook off of them as possible.
* You don't have to use elbow macaroni. Any tiny pasta, like ditalini or orrechiete, will work. and use the white stuff. Even though almost any time I have pasta I go for the whole grain now, you really need to use the traditional semolina pasta in a good minestrone.
Finally, when the intoxicating scent is making your mouth water and tummy growl, ladle it up and ENJOY!!!
Garnish it with freshly grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese (please for the love of all that is good and holy, ditch the green can of that powder-y nasty pretend grated "cheese!") and serve with a crusty French baguette.