Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rustic Minestrone

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I wish every meal I make is wonderfully delicious. But like every cook, I have good days and bad days. This recipe started as a food experiment gone horribly wrong. I saw a minestrone recipe on Food Network and thought the technique was worth trying. After a bit of tweaking, the soup base tasted fine. But I made the rookie mistake of adding the pasta too soon. By the time I was ready to enjoy the soup, the pasta had swollen to three times its original size and soaked up all the soup. It became limp, saggy pasta soaked in vegetable puree. Needlessly to say, it was FAIL of epic proportions. This is my second attempt at the recipe. It turned out much better.

You'll need:
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 stalks of thyme
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of dry red wine (I used two buck Chuck, it's fine)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cups of cooked (or 1 15-ounce can, drained) cannellini beans
  • 1/2 pound of cooked ditalini pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley and/or basil as garnish
Add onion, carrots, celery stalks, and garlic into a food processor. Puree until the vegetables become a fine paste. Fry the paste with thyme and dried red pepper flakes in a large pot with olive oil over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes. It's okay if the vegetables becomes slightly burned. De-glaze pot with red wine. Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, Bay leaf, sugar, tomato paste, dried basil, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried rosemary, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Cook until all the flavors melt together, or about 30 to 45 minutes. Add beans and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add cooked pasta and garnish right before serving.

The pureed vegetables really give this soup a rustic feel. The laundry list of ingredients adds depth to the flavor, so the soup is tangy, sweet, savory and a little spicy. The small ditalini pasta is the perfect size for the soup. I served this soup with homemade potato bread. It's a warm and hearty cold weather soup.

1 comment:

  1. just surfing the "next blog" and came upon your recipe tonight for soup that is different but similar to one i just posted tonight myself. it sounds good with the wine and vinegar. will give it a try.