The weekend turned out to be lovely, and highlights include swimming laps with Lea at the URI pool, pulled pork sandwiches Saturday night (thanks Libby!) followed by live music at the Ferguson’s, a thorough house cleaning, and an afternoon visit to a friend who has a brand new baby. I decided to make this minestrone soup for the new Mama, and since her only request was something with “roughage,” the large quantity and variety of veggies in it made it a suitable choice. When I first started cooking soups I always thought that they needed lots of spices and herbs to make them flavorful. Often soups do need a little extra “help” in the seasoning department, but I am also learning that when there are lots of vegetables involved, the flavor from the vegetables alone is enough to give certain soups the delicate, delicious taste that is so good.
This recipe comes from Debra Mayhew’s cookbook Soup, which I cannot recommend enough. I bought a copy of it years ago for 5.99 at Walden’s, and I think it is easily one of the best cookbooks I own. This soup is hardy and very satisfying. Putting a spoonful of pesto on the top also adds another delightful element. With a slice of bread it is the perfect dinner for a cold night in January.
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 celery stalks, minced
5 ounces green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 zucchini, finely sliced
1 potato, cut into ½ inch cubes
¼ Savoy cabbage, shredded
1 small eggplant, cut into ½ cubes
I can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
3 ounces vermicelli
Salt and freshly ground pepper
(You can make the pesto if you feel so inclined, but I just bought a jar from the grocery store.)
Heat oil in large pot and cook onion, celery, and carrots over low heat for 5-7 minutes.
Stir in green beans, zucchini, potato, and cabbage and cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add eggplant, cannellini beans, and tomatoes, and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
Pour in the stock with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir well, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Break the pasta into small pieces and add to soup. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Stir in pesto and simmer 2-3 more minutes, or just ladle soup into bowls and let everyone put their own pesto on top.