I am totally bewitched by soups these days! The climate here in Seattle is so perfectly matching my soup making mood! Soups are comforting, nourishing, filling and flavorful. Period. I have been getting requests for soup recipes all along, but I could never make myself to actually make it. I thought it was time consuming and that soups were meant to be had only from restaurants as appetizers. I was soooo wrong. I tasted this awesome minestrone soup at Olive Garden and got hooked! I simply had to try it at home. I dug out minestrone soup recipes, experimented and made one which tasted almost similar to the one I had from Olive Garden. One success made me crave for more and now every alternative day I am making different soups! My blog was seriously lacking some soup recipes, so you will find more of them coming soon!
Minestrone is a classic Italian soup made with pasta, vegetables and beans. For those who diet, this kind of soups are the best as its so filling and healthy. The husband is also enjoying the hot bowl of soup right after he comes back from office every day! Hope you will enjoy this as much as we did.
Ingredients (Serves 5)
1. Olive oil – 2 tbsp
2. Garlic – 2 medium cloves, minced
Onion – 1/2 cup, chopped
Carrot – 1 small, peeled and chopped
Celery – 2 stalks, chopped
Salt and pepper – To season
3. Tomato paste – 1.5 tbsp
4. Tomato, ripe – 3 medium-large, blanched (Refer step 1. For an easier version of minestrone, tomatoes and tomato paste can be replaced with 3/4 cup marinara soup)
Red kidney beans / rajma, cooked – 1/2 cup (You can use canned kidney beans if you want)
Cannellini beans / navy beans / white garbanzo beans, cooked – 1/2 cup (Use 1 cup red kidney beans if you don’t have this)
Vegetable / chicken stock – 2 cups
Italian seasoning – 1 – 2 pinches or to taste
5. Pasta – 1/4 cup (Use any short cut pasta such as ditalini pasta, elbow pasta or small shell pasta. I used medium sized shell pasta so I used 1/2 cup.)
Zucchini – 1/4, cut into thin slices
Spinach – 1/2 cup, roughly chopped
Basil leaves – 3, chopped
6. Fresh parsley – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
7. Parmesan cheese, grated – 2 tbsp, to garnish
1. To blanch tomatoes – Put the tomatoes in boiling water. Boil for about 1 – 2 minutes or until their skin starts peeling off. Take them out and set aside for 2 minutes. Peel off their skin and chop the flesh. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan / soup pot at medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrot and celery. season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and mix well. Add vegetable stock, cooked cannellini and kidney beans, Italian seasoning, chopped tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil. Bring down the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add zucchini, pasta, spinach and basil leaves, if using. Mix well. Continue cooking for 8 – 10 minutes until pasta is done and soup is medium thick. Check for salt and pepper. Add 1/2 – 1 tsp lemon juice to brighten up the flavors. Garnish with chopped parsley. Top the minestrone soup with grated parmesan cheese while serving.