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.
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