Minestrone-Good Anytime of the Year
I love this kind of soup—full of veggies, tasty besides and beautiful to look at. No meat necessary here because the pasta and the chickpeas make for a perfect protein. It’s also an inexpensive way to feed a group. If you wish to add a larger variety of veggies, feel free. Zucchini, crookneck and leaks always make a nice addition. Sometimes, when serving in pretty shallow bowls, I’ll even float a tablespoon or so of sherry and then top with the shredded Parmesan or Romano. A nice light desert for this dinner is some poached pears. Look for the recipe on the blog.
- 2 Tblsp. olive oil
- 1/2- 3/4 C. diced pancetta (optional)
- 2 carrots-peeled and chopped into ¼ inch slices or diced if you wish
- 2 stalks celery-chopped into ¼ inch slices or diced if you wish
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3-4 peeled garlic cloves-minced
- 1 large red onion finely chopped
- S&P to taste
- 8 oz. sliced mushrooms or 1 oz. dried wild mushrooms, chopped
- One cup cherry tomatoes or 1/2 C. thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/4 C. chopped parsley
- 1 small bunch purple (or green) organic kale, washed and chopped
- 1 C. dry DeLucco small shells pasta—cooked
- 5 C. chicken (or veggie) stock
- 2 C. chickpeas—if canned, well rinsed
- Romano or Parmesan for topping and possibly Sherry
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the pancetta and cook about 3 minutes. Then add the carrots, celery, bay leaves, garlic, onion, parsley and S&P. If you want a thicker soup, now’s the time to add a tablespoon or two of flour.
- Stir until the veggies are glistening and soft—about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, kale and 5 C. chicken stock; bring to a boil. You can also add at this point a favorite dry seasoning of yours.
- Turn down heat to medium-heat and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta and the chickpeas and cook about 10 more minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve accompanied with crusty French bread and topped with Romano or Parmesan cheese.