Minestrone with Basil

Just when you thought it was safe to put up your soup pot, the temps are dropping faster than the wind speed and the weekend forecast doesn’t look too promising … sigh.  Haul the kettle back out, it’s time for soup.
This is actually the perfect recipe for today – meatless for Lent, and made almost entirely of vegetables so it’s really, really good for you.  It’s so hearty and filling, I didn’t even bother to make anything other than buttermilk biscuits to go along with it last night.  It’s great with any kind of good bread, so swap in whatever you like if you’re not in the mood to bake.  Everyone here (except NTYB, who had grilled cheese) loved it – my girls each had seconds and the Hub’ took it for lunch today.

In closing, this week my middle child was assigned to write a business letter for her composition class.  She’s going to give Lego Corporation her two cents.  I decided I would pen a brief letter to Spring.  Here it is:

Dear Spring,
Where the (BLEEP) are you?
~ Leah

Serves: 6
Source:  epicurious.com

1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained (Red Gold Tomatoes are on sale this week, 4/13/11 to 4/19/11)
1 small onion, small dice (Vidalia Onions are on sale)
1 zucchini, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
2 c. shredded cabbage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small russet potato, peeled and small dice
1 medium russet potato, peeled and left whole
3 T. olive oil (**see note) (Davinci Olive Oil is on sale if you’re running low)
5 + c. chicken broth (OR WATER)

1/2 c. pasta shells (Davinci AND Barilla Pastas are on sale)
1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
Good quality Parmesan cheese for serving

Place first 11 ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to boil. Pour in the chicken broth or water; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until carrots and whole potato are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Transfer 2 cups soup and whole potato to blender and puree. Return puree to soup in pot. Add pasta and 1/4 cup basil; simmer uncovered until pasta is cooked through and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/4 cup basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

**NOTE:  I NEVER use this much – I only use one tablespoon or so….sometimes I completely forget to add it and I’ve never noticed the difference.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | April 15th, 2011