Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Soups are so comforting on a cold, wet, rainy day... and you will know what I mean when you live in a place like seattle :)
My daughter loves soups and end up getting one everytime we go to a restaurant..So I have always wanted to make her a soup and here's a starter..
Who doesn't like minestrone? Pretty much every likes it...Its healthy, hearty, filling and comforting..Now what more do you need in a food anyway?
I saw this episode of Ina make a winter minestrone soup and immediately wanted to make one..But as usual, I did not have most of the ingredients and waited next week until I could go shopping..
I have never made anything with butternet squash and I really loved it in the soup..
Here's the recipe for Vegetable Minestrone soup adapted from Ina's.

French Baguette - 1, thinly sliced
Yellow Onion - 1 very large, diced
Carrots - 3 large, diced
Celery - 4 stalks, diced
Garlic - 5-6 cloves, crushed
Butternut squash - 1, diced
Cannelloni beans - 1 can
Tomatoes - 4 ripened/1 can, diced
Small Pasta - 1 cup (cook as per pkg directions)
Vegetable/Chicken stock - 7-8 cups
White wine - 1/2 cup (optional)
Dried thyme - 1/2 tsp
Dried basil - 1/2 tsp
Dried oregano - 1/4 tsp
Bay leaves - 2
Cayenne pepper - 1/4 tsp
Paprika - 1/4 tsp 
Black Pepper - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 Tbsp
Olive oil

For Pesto: 
Cilantro/Parsley/Basil leaves - 1 cup
Pine nuts - 2 Tbsp
Parmesan cheese - 1 Tbsp, grated
Olive oil - 2 Tbsp

To add chicken: (optional)
Chicken breast - 1 piece, diced
Cayenne pepper - 1/4 tsp
Paprika - 1/4 tsp 
All purpose seasoning - 1/2 tsp
Salt, to taste


Process all the ingredients from the list into a food processor and blend until coarse.

Garlic Bread: 
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees .
  • Thinly slice the baguette to 1/2-1 inch thick pieces and line up on a cookie sheet and bake for about 7-8 minutes until slightly crispy. 
  • Once the bread is out of the oven, cut the tip of a garlic clove and rub on each slice of the bread.

Minestrone Soup:
  • Heat 1-2 Tbsps of oil in a large pot or pan and add all the vegetables - onions, celery, butternut squash, carrots, crushed garlic, basil, thyme, bay leaves, oregano and salt. Adding salt makes the veggies cook faster.
  • Once the veggies are soft and cooked, add tomatoes, vegetable/chicken stock, pepper, cayenne and paprika, mix well and let it come to a boil.
  • Once the liquid starts boiling, simmer and let it cook for about 25-30 minutes until it reduces down.
  • Now add the spinach, pesto, cooked pasta, beans and white wine (if using) and let it cook for about 5 minutes until the spinach is cooked and shrinks to a dark green color.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve with a garlic bread

  • You can peel and cut all the vegetables ahead of time. I did this one day in advance as this could eat up your time.
  • You could always use any store bought pesto. I did not have pesto, so I made my own version.I used cilantro as I did not have other herbs. I would have used basil preferably, but was surprised that cilantro tasted just as good in the soup. 
  • While toasting the bread, if you prefer it less crispy (like my husband), remove it earlier around 5/6 minutes or simply cut the baguette and dip into soup and enjoy.
  • If the soup is too thick always feel free to add more stock and let the whole pot come to a boil.
  • If you're adding chicken, mix the chicken well with all the spices and saute in a pan with olive oil until well cooked and add to the soup along with the pasta.