I love soup. I know it seems a little odd to see a soup post in June, but I really love soup. Soup is something I make all year-long. It’s versatile, easily prepared and most soups can be served warm instead of piping hot. And many soups are fabulous for summer dining. I love a chilled fruit or veggie Gazpacho, room temp Carrot Ginger Soup or a warm Ratatouille loaded with summer produce.
But, mostly I make soups because my frig is overflowing with produce. Ranger Craig and I have a bad habit of swinging by the market (without telling each other) on the same day. This is fabulous, except when we both eventually get home, we’ve each got a big bag stuffed with lots of fresh organic produce. What can I say except great minds think alike…and we eat a lot of soup.
Minestrone means “big soup”, and this Minestrone di Verdura is a very big soup. I like to serve this as a summer soup and I love it full of delicious summer spinach. Yep, me and spinach. It seems half my posts contain spinach. Not sure when this love affair with spinach began, but as you can see, it continues today.
Just for fun I like to “hide” delicious little treasures in the bottom of the soup. The Bennett Crew favors toasted and garlic rubbed baguette slices. But I love a firm poached egg. Buon Appetito!
I know the ingredient list looks long, but it’s really quite an easy soup to prepare. Most of it goes in the soup pot to simmer until done. And it’s easily adaptable to your family’s favorite veggies. Like black beans instead of white beans? Would you rather use your summer kale instead of spinach? Go right ahead. Play with the recipe and see what you come up with!
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely diced (or more if you love garlic)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 15 ounce can organic white beans
1 15 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
2 medium potatoes, peeled and small diced
2 cups vegetable broth or stock
2 cups packed, fresh organic baby spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded parmesan, Romano or Fontina as a garnish
In a large soup pot heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and onion and let them wilt, about 5 minutes.
Next, add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute or so.
Then fold in the beans, tomatoes and potatoes.
Stir in the broth and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Turn the heat down and let the soup simmer until all the veggies are tender.
Once the veggies are nicely tender, fold in the fresh spinach, basil, parsley and pinch of cayenne.
Let the soup continue to simmer for about 5 minutes longer and then taste for salt and pepper. This soup can be made an hour or so (even 30 minutes works well) in advance and as it sits and rests, the veggies and herbs will meld together and become more flavorful. Just re-heat to serve.
To serve: Place a toasted baguette slice in the bottom of a soup bowl and ladle soup over the top. Garnish with shredded parmesan, Romano or Fontina. Enjoy!