I actually made this recipe yesterday. We had some much needed rain, and it seemed the perfect fall day to concoct a warm pot of yummy tomato goodness. Though we rooted hard, evidence to the left, we weren't able to come out with a "W" in our most important Sunday game, however, this soup is a big win, and I think you'll be very glad you took the time to make it. It's a fairly simple recipe, and you already may have most of these ingredients in your home. It should take about 10 minutes of chopping and gathering, about 10 minutes of standing over the stove to add ingredients, and about 40 minutes of boiling or simmering. So give yourself about an hour from starting to serving this dish.
This is a double batch recipe, so would be great for a crowd or leftovers, if you want just 8 servings, cut everything in half, if you want to serve the neighborhood (about 16) make as noted below. A typical minestrone is made of vegetable stock, but since I don't have vegetarian or vegans in my house (quite the opposite) I like to make it with a richer flavored stock like a beef stock. The other departure from a typical minestrone, is I like to make it with white cannellini beans instead of kidney beans, it's just a size of the bean preference, but really any bean could work.
I like to serve with warm bread and butter. Make sure to have Parmesan or Romano cheese to add on top, also good if you have fresh basil or parsley to add as a garnish, I didn't have any when I made this yesterday, but it was still so good.
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups minced yellow onion (about 1 large onion or two small)
1 cup chopped zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)
1 cup frozen cut Italian cut green beans
1/2 cup minced celery (about 3 ribs - the long pieces that make up a stalk)
6 teaspoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
8 cups vegetable broth (I like beef broth or beef bone broth to add richness)
2(15 ounce) cans small white beans or 2 (15 ounce) cans great northern beans, drained AND rinsed
2 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes (if you can source it, use San Marzano- it makes a world of difference)
1 cup carrot (shredded)
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional- I LIKE IT SPICY)
3 cups hot water
4 cups fresh Baby Spinach
2 cup small shell pasta
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large soup pot. Once oil is HOT, add onion, celery, garlic, green beans and zucchini for about 5 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
NEXT push the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the spices so they touch the bottom of the pan for about 30 seconds, then mix in with all of the other vegetables. This should make for a very aromatic smell. Next add the tomatoes, beans, carrots, and veg or beef stock.
Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Add additional 3 cups of water and spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 12-15 minutes.
Makes about sixteen 1 1/2 cup servings.
Caitlin Johnson is a dietitian, wife, lover of ice cream, chef wannabe, California-girl, Christian, liver eating, "food-avore."
218 W. Carmen Lane, Suite 108
Santa Maria, California 93458
Hours: Mon-Fri 9-5 PST