December 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
Minestrone soup is like Italian-style chili, but better. Much, much better. Let’s face it…anything that lends itself to being served with a side of garlic bread can’t help but taste fabulous. Here’s how we made our Minestrone last night, and by the way, the recipe is very flexible, and you can make it any way you want. If you have leftover sausage, then throw that in there. Leftover green beans? Throw those in there, too. The most important things (in my mind) are zippy-tasting tomatoes, some pasta, beans, garlic, some nice broth (from a can or your freezer), and wine…anything else is extra.
Here’s a pic of it before we added the pasta (the pasta is the last thing added, so it doesn’t become soggy):
1/2 pound hamburger (or Italian sausage, if you prefer)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon garlic
1/2-pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 to 1-cup red wine (we used Yellow Tail Merlot)
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning (or Herbs de Provence)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-4 cups broth (homemade chicken broth is always good; if you only have canned broth, then use a couple of cans of that instead)
2 10-ounce cans diced green tomatoes with green chilies
1 15.25-ounce can black beans, kidney beans, or whatever kind of beans you want
1 cup frozen artichoke hearts
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/3-cup acini de pepe pasta (usually we use 1 cup of dried ravioli, but Dave’s been banned from eating cheese for awhile, so we used plain old pasta this time)
Saute the hamburger in a heavy dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and saute it until it is translucent. Add garlic, and cook briefly, being careful not to burn the garlic. Skim fat, if you care about that (we usually use very lean meat, so there isn’t much to skim). Add sausage, red wine, Italian seasoning, pepper flakes. broth, tomatoes, and black beans. Reduce heat to low and add artichoke hearts and cook for about 20 minutes, adding extra water or red wine, if you think it needs more. Just remember that if you add extra red wine, you’ll need to add about 10 extra minutes cooking time to let the alcohol cook off…otherwise your minestrone will taste terrible.
Turn the heat up to medium-high, and let the Minestrone come to a slow rolling bubble. Add the pasta and peas, and cook another 15 minutes, or until the pasta is done. If you are adding ravioli, instead of the acini de pepe, lucky you. Ravioli is SO MUCH more delicious in Minestrone than the acini de pepe…we’d be having it this time, except for Dave’s new diet. You may need to cook the ravioli a tad longer though.
Adjust seasonings before serving. This makes enough soup to feed 6 people, as a main meal. Serve with garlic bread.