Friday, December 13, 2013

Minestrone Soup

it has actually been cold here in southern CA.  Yes it's all relative, but 32 degrees in the morning (yes that was the temp this morning) is truly COLD for us! BRRRRRRR). The saving grace is that  it does warm up to the 60s this time of year. And we can get crazy heat waves - like the 80 degrees forecast for early next week.  I don't like it when it gets that warm in the winter, especially during the holidays.  I want this time of year to feel brisk outside and I want to wear a jacket when I go outside.  I want to make a fireplace and curl up on the couch with the dogs. I love this time of year when I can settle down with a hot bowl of soup and be totally content.  It doesn't take much!

This recipe is a definite winter comfort food, made even better because the Ninja Cooking System did all of the hard work!

There were quite a few fresh herbs in this recipe so rather than hand chop, I used one of my favorite kitchen tools - the Kuhn Rikon Pull and Chop.  The two blades inside are VERY sharp (yes I found out the hard way!) and they easily mince herbs that are not always simple manage.  You can see how the herbs went from garden fresh to recipe ready.

Straight from my garden

 Ready for chopping

Mission accomplished - perfection!


Adapted from Cooking Classy

4 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup red wine (optional)
1 (15 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 1/3 cups pasta (ditalini, shell, orecchiette - I used the latter)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.)  cannelini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can cut green beans, drained
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
I Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil
1 tsp. fresh lemon thyme leaves
2 tsp. fresh chopped oregano
1 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
shredded parmesan cheese to garnish or Sargento Italian cheese mix

Add stock, water, wine, tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and sugar to the crock pot/slow cooker.  I used my Ninja Cooking System and it was perfect. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook on low for about 7 hours.

When the vegetables are softened after the 7 hours, add the zucchini, yellow squash, pasta, garlic, kidney and cannelini beans and cook on high 30-40 minutes or until the pasta is done.  Add the chopped spinach and green beans and cook a few more minutes until heated through.  Serve warm topped with the Sargento Italian cheese mixture or Parmesan cheese.

Another look at the minced herbs and all of the yummy ingredients ready to become soup.

So satisfying and soooooooooooo good!

And since I had chopped extra rosemary, I decided to do a bit more and make a delicious loaf of garlic rosemary bread to go with the soup.  The aroma from this baking bread will have you swooning!

Stay tuned for that recipe to come soon!

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