I know, I know, what happened to my soup/stew strike? Lol, I guess that was a lot of big talk (the moral of that story is never believe me if I swear off soup!). This time of year I really can’t stay away too long from a warm and comforting bowl of goodness, plus I’m on the popular mission to empty out my freezer/pantry; since this soup uses a few different canned items, it helped make a small dent in my stash. (Every little bit helps when you’re cleaning out your pantry, right?) And just look at all the goodies in this bowl…it’s chock full of vitamin-rich veggies, plus it’s meat-free so it’s filling without being too heavy.
Another nice thing about Minestrone is that you can customize it with any veggies you have on hand. Zucchini, mushrooms, green beans, and peas are a few more of my favorites…it’s a great way to clean out your fridge!
(Yield: 4-6 servings)
3 oz small pasta, any shape you like (such as ditalini, orzo, or shells)
4 c vegetable, chicken, or beef stock*
1 medium-large onion, diced
4 medium or 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large stalks celery, diced
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices
2 TB tomato paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce*
1 bay leaf
1 tsp minced fresh thyme (or 1/3 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried Italian herb seasoning
3 oz (about 4 c lightly packed) fresh baby spinach (or you can use regular spinach, coarsely chopped)
1 (15 oz) can beans (such as cannellini, garbanzo, or kidney), drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (for garnish)
*To make this vegetarian, use vegetable stock and omit the Worcestershire sauce.
Prepare pasta to al dente according to package directions.
In a 3-quart pot with a lid, combine stock, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, Italian herb seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring up to a boil, then cover (leaving lid slightly ajar), turn heat down to a simmer, and cook until veggies are tender (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Add spinach, beans, and cooked pasta and cook a couple minutes until spinach is wilted. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano if desired.