Here’s what’s cooking: Minestrone Soup.
Because it’s winter and even though it hasn’t been particularly cold in my neck of the woods, it gets dark early and the wind still blows a big chill.
Minestrone is a wondrous choice for so many reasons. It’s thick and filling, colorful and inviting, nourishing and nurturing.
Also, I can make it ahead, which I am doing today, for my New Year’s Eve dinner.
And it tastes so, so wonderful.
- 3-4 ounces beef bacon**
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 3 carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 3 stalks celery, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
- 1 small zucchini or yellow squash, cut into bite size chunks
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup cut up green string beans
- 28-ounce can Italian style tomatoes, including juices
- 8 cups stock (beef, chicken or vegetable) or water
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup elbow macaroni
- Parmesan cheese, optional**
If you include bacon, place it in a soup pot over low-medium heat and cook for 5-6 minutes or until crispy. Remove the meat and set aside. Drain most of the fat. Add the olive oil. Raise the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, zucchini, peas, corn and string beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bacon pieces, if used, tomatoes, stock, parsley, basil, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan partially and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the beans and macaroni and cook for about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Makes 8 servings
** If you make the soup without bacon, serve it sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.