I consider myself a well-established cook, having gotten involved with French cuisine in particular for over 30 years; however, my culinary skills aren’t limited to French cooking but a wide variety of nationalities, such as Italian, Mexican, and Oriental. During all these years I’ve always been a stickler for making any meal completely homemade and entirely from scratch, in other words, no “short-cuts.” If for instance, I want to make biscuits, yes, I make homemade biscuits and have never used the Pillsbury biscuit dough in that pop-up can.
Among the many types of meals I’ve made over the years, I love making homemade soups, and now that the weather is starting to turn on the chilly side, what could be better than a nice piping hot bowl of soup? In the past I’ve made homemade Chicken, Lentil, Pea, Black Bean, Potato, Cream of Celery, Gazbacho, and French Onion soup Gratinée.
Recently, I came across a recipe called Harvest Minestrone with Quinoa & Kale Soup, and looking at the photo, I have to admit my mouth began to drool. It looked delicious. I give the link for that recipe here; however, it inspired me to do my own version of the soup, and I prepare it in a completely different way than the original recipe. The original recipe, for instance, calls for a can of crushed tomatoes, kale and the quinoa, I omitted these three ingredients and substituted my own as you’ll see if you compare recipes. Also most of the vegetable ingredients in the original recipe call for them to be diced; I instead cut most of the vegetables such as the zucchini in large cubes or slices.
My Own Hearty Minestrone Soup:
2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium-sized onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 celery stalks sliced (not diced!)
2 or three large carrots, pared and sliced
1 large fresh zucchini, pared, thickly sliced and cut into cubes
1 cup of fresh green beans cut into about 1″ pieces
1 green bell pepper, sliced and diced
1 large jar of pasta source~~I used a 24 oz. jar of Vito Marcello’s Tomato and Basil Marinara Sauce
3 or 4 cups water
1 large plum tomato cut into cubes
1 15 oz. can chickpeas
1 15 oz. can either Cannellini or Red Kidney Beans ( I used the Red Kidney Beans)
1 cup cooked pasta (such as ditalini or elbow macaroni)
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with pre-grated parmesan cheese
In a large stockpot add the olive oil, onions and garlic and sautée till tender (don’t let burn!). Pour and add approximately one half of the pasta sauce into stockpot, then add the water. Stir to blend. Add all the vegetables to pot, omitting the beans. Let all the ingredients simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. While the soup is simmering, in a large saucepan, boil a quart of water and add about 3/4 cup pasta and cook until al-dente.
If necessary keep adding a little more of the pasta sauce and water to the soup as the liquid will have a tendency to evaporate. About ten minutes before the soup is done, add the chickpeas, Cannellini or Red Kidney Beans and the pasta and let simmer some more. Ladle in the soup into bowls and sprinkle some of the parmesan cheese on top.
Servings: about 8 to 10 servings