Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Sarah: May Minestrone May 5, 2014

Why go out to Olive Garden when you can make minestrone just as delicious on your own stove?

Why go out to Olive Garden when you can make minestrone just as delicious on your own stove?

The Italians have been holding out on us, everyone.  I love minestrone soup, but I always imagined that each Italian family had a complex family recipe that took hours of simmering until it came to miraculous minestrone perfection.

This weekend, I had the epiphany that minestrone is really just the perfect excuse to use whatever leftover veggies happen to be in your house.  Family recipes notwithstanding, minestrone changes with the seasons according to what is ripe and ready.

Note: I made this in less than 45 minutes after a weekend away, while putting away groceries in the kitchen.  It’s not too difficult–the chopping is the only time-consuming part.

For a quick version at home, there are only about four essential ingredients.  The rest is a choose-your-own-adventure meal!  The other lovely thing about this is that you can make it dairy or gluten free by omitting the cheese on top or the pasta noodles.

Minestrone

Four essential ingredients (which you probably have already in your cupboard or fridge):

  • 1 large can (32 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 4 c. broth (of any kind, really)
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste (I did 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper)

Ingredients I put in my soup tonight (because they needed to be used up or happened to be on sale at the store today):

  • 1/2 a purple onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 small red potatoes
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • a handful of penne pasta
  • a can of beans (I used a tricolor mix, but you can use white, pinto, kidney, whatever)
  • parmesan cheese
1.  Chop, chop, chop the veggies (we like them in small pieces in our house--otherwise, Keith calls it "lazy soup").

1. Chop, chop, chop the veggies (we like them in small pieces in our house–otherwise, Keith calls it “lazy soup”).

2. Sautee the onion until translucent, then add the garlic.  Add other veggies in order of cooking time--potatoes went first for me, then asparagus.

2. Sautee the onion in olive oil until translucent, then add the garlic. Add other veggies in order of cooking time–potatoes went first for me, then asparagus.

3. Next came squash.  After it had all sautéed a bit, I added the broth.

3. Next came squash. After it had all sautéed a bit, I added the broth.

4.  Then comes the can of tomatoes (with the tomato juice--why pour that down the drain when it adds to the soup?).

4. Then comes the can of tomatoes (with the tomato juice–why pour that down the drain when it adds to the soup?).  Stir in the spices now, too, so that it all boils together.

6.  During the last 10 minutes or so of cooking, add the beans and the pasta.  Serve when the pasta gets soft, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese…because cheese makes everything better.

6. After it all boils, let the veggies soften a bit, but if you’re adding pasta, don’t let them get too mushy.  During the last 10 minutes or so of cooking, add the beans and the pasta. Serve when the pasta gets soft, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese…because cheese makes everything better.

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One Response to “Sarah: May Minestrone”

  1. […]  The tomato-y beef broth would make the perfect starter for veggie beef soup or, perhaps, for a minestrone!  I froze the stuff left in my crockpot, and it probably equalled about 2 […]


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