I thoroughly enjoyed the rich food of the holidays but I now crave balance and healthier, less heavy food. As the weather swings from unseasonably warm to cold and stormy I turn to hot, comforting soups with lots of vegetables....enter Minestrone! My Grandmother Clementina, my mother and my mother in law have all made this throughout my life. Here is a quick, easy updated version (Grazie Nonna!)
Comfort in a bowl....Minestrone!
(Takes approximately 35 mins from start to finish)
3 large White Potatoes (or 4 medium)
1 Clove of Garlic cut in half
2 bags of Frozen Veggies (I love S&S Ranchero Fiesta Blend because it has red kidney beans in the mix but any type of frozen vegetables will do and you can mix and match)
1 Bouillon Cube - either Vegetable or Chicken
1 tsp of Salt
2-3 tblsp (or 1/2 a small can) of Tomato Paste
1 can (15.5 oz) of Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz) of Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
1 Onion, chopped (optional)
2 Stalks of Celery, chopped (optional)
1 cup of small pasta like Pastina or Ditalini or cooked Arborio rice (for a gluten free option)
(adding pasta is optional but it does make the soup heartier!)
1. Fill a large 6 quart pan or Dutch Oven with water (about 2 inches to the top)
2. Peel and cut the potatoes into small pieces then add to the water
3. Add remaining ingredients to the water
4. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 mins
5. Remove a ladle full of potatoes, crush with a fork and add back into the pan
6. Add small pasta and cook in the soup according to directions (Pastina or Ditalini is about 8 mins at a slow boil) or add cooked rice*
*rice absorbs a lot of water so it’s better to add already cooked
7. Serve hot with your favorite fresh bread - Mangia!
Leftovers are fantastic for a nourishing lunch!