Weekend Soup: Vegetable Minestrone
I’ve been feeling like a lighter, brothier soup lately — but one that’s still chock full of colorful vegetables, and maybe some beans. This is my version of minestrone: garlicky broth, diced tomatoes, emerald-green spinach, ribbons of cabbage, bright orange carrots, creamy white beans and cute little ditalini pasta. It’s fantastic with some grated Parmesan cheese on top, and a nice chunk of crusty bread alongside doesn’t hurt, either (I think I say that about a lot of things!)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped (about 2 ribs)
1 cup carrots, chopped (about 2 carrots)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes with their juice (I like Muir Glen Organic)
2 cans white beans, such as cannellini, great northern, or navy – drained and rinsed
8 cups water, vegetable stock or chicken stock
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2-inch piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (optional)
1/2 head small green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup ditalini pasta (or other small chunky pasta)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
10 oz baby spinach
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large, heavy stockpot. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute until the onion softens, about 5-7 minutes. Add the can of diced tomatoes (with the juice), the drained and rinsed white beans, 8 cups water (or stock), 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, sliced cabbage, and cheese rind (if you’re using it.) Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Stir in the ditalini pasta and chopped parsley, and cook until the ditalini is done – about another 10 minutes. Stir the spinach into the soup until it’s wilted and bright green. Finally, add the red wine vinegar and stir to combine.
Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Serve with grated cheese on top.
Makes about 8-10 servings.