Friday, December 21, 2012

Buon Natale Minestrone - Christmas Minestrone Soup

I made this up this morning, having purchased the veggies, yesterday. It is a big, big soup.

I had on hand, from a $Dollar Store, a 56 fl. oz. can of chicken stock. A whopping 43% of MDR (Minimum Daily Requirement) of salt, so I used about a teaspoon of extra salt, the reason for which, will become self-explanatory, as you, dear reader, will see:

15 oz. can garbanzo beans
15 oz. can  Cannellini beans
28 oz. can tomatoes, whole, peeled
8 oz. package whole button mushrooms
6 cloves garlic, made into a mush (paste)
1 1/2 pounds broccoli
2 whole zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 bunch kale
4 leaves of Savoy cabbage
2 ribs of celery
2 whole carrots, peeled and slice on the round
8 small white potatoes
1 cup celery leaves, loosely packed
1/2 cup parsley, loosely packed
1/4 cup basil leaves, fresh
1 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 scant tsp. sugar
1 tbs. Italian herb mix
8 ozs. elbow pasta
2 quarts of water
6-8 tbs. olive oil

The sugar is necessary to balance the flavor of the tomatoes. The extra salt is added due to the large amount of vegetables. I sauteed all the vegetables in olive oil. The garlic mush was sauteed first, then the mushrooms added, the heat raised until the mushrooms threw off their water, heat lowered and sauteing finished. The canned tomatoes were broken up by hand. The cherry or grape tomatoes left whole. the Savoy cabbage was cut into strips, the kale was hand torn. The mushrooms, celery, carrots, zucchini and potatoes were cut into thin slices on the mandolin. The bell peppers were peeled and cut into a dice. The broccoli florets were all that I used, the stems being reserved for stock. The fresh parsley and basil were minced and added at the start of cooking.

I brought the 16 qt. stock pot to a bare simmer, with the heat on as high as possible, covered the pot, lowered the heat and checked the pot in 30 minutes to lower the heat even further. This soup will simmer for 2 hours and then be allowed to come to room temperature. It will be re-heated before serving. The pasta will be added during the re-heating.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, bread in the soup bowl, and Parmesan cheese.

As there are tomatoes and kale, this soup looks very Christmas-y.