Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12: Fall Minestrone

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, cut as thick as bacon from the deli counter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 portobello mushroom caps, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, chopped with greens
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 stems of fresh rosemary
8 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 small bunch of kale or chard, trimmed of tough ends and veins and coarsely chopped
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained
1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes or chunky-style crushed tomatoes
1 quart chicken stock or broth
2 cups vegetable stock or broth
   A piece of rind of Parmigiano cheese
1 cup ditalini pasta
   Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to pass at the table
   Crusty bread, for mopping

Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat and add the EVOO. Add the pancetta and brown for 2 minutes.

Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the mushrooms are lightly browned.

Season with salt and pepper and add the rosemary stems and the sage to the pot. Add the zucchini and chopped greens and stir them into the pot until all the greens wilt down, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, stocks, and cheese rind, then place a lid on the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Uncover and add the ditalini pasta. Cook the soup for 7 to 8 minutes at a rolling simmer, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente (with a bite to it). Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the rind and the now bare rosemary stems (the leaves fall off into the soup as it cooks). Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and top with grated cheese. Pass the crusty bread at the table.


This soup is very delicious. There were a few things I did differently: I only used 1 onion (my husband doesn't like them), I only used 1 carrot because my daughter ate the other one yesterday (I'm glad she likes to eat veggies), I used dried sage because it's cheaper, I forgot to buy a zucchini, I used all chicken stock instead of a mixture of vegetable and chicken stock. There are so many ingredients in this soup that these small changes don't make much of a difference. I took this recipe from July 21. Today's was supposed to be orzo and skirt steak. But I'd rather have Fall Minestrone in the fall! RR says: "More like fall-in-love-with soup." And her tidbit is: "You can now find vegetable stock in cartons on the soup aisle next to the boxes of beef and chicken broth." I'm not sure why I didn't buy any. I think I didn't see it in the recipe, so I didn't write it down on my list. Oh well. It still tasted great! Oh, and I changed the serving amount from 4 to 6.

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