Friday in New York started out at 14 degrees, so I decided on a hearty soup for dinner. I knew the Guyana Kid would be complaining about the cold from the moment she came in the door,so a steaming bowl of vegetable soup was just the thing. Minestrone soup is a great choice since it has beans and pasta (a complete protein) plus vegetables. So, I'll show you how I make it completely vegetarian, then talk about how to vary it. Really, soup is easy to make. The biggest part of the job is the preparation.
So, here are my ingredients all prepped and ready to go. In order of inclusion, they are 2 cloves of garlic chopped, 2 anchovies chopped, 2 small onions diced, 2 medium carrots diced, 2 sticks of celery diced, a few sprigs of parsley (not shown),1 medium potato peeled and diced, a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes,1cup of sherry (not shown), a small head of savoy cabbage chopped, 1 small can of white kidney (cannelini) beans drained, 1 box of Trader Joe's organic vegetable stock,1 medium zucchini diced, approx. 1/2 cup of Ditalini pasta.
Procedure: Start with a hot, heavy bottomed pot. Add 3 tbs. of olive oil, the garlic and anchovies. When they get fragrant, quickly add the onions, carrots and celery and salt them. After about 5 minutes when the onions get opaque and the vegetables begin to soften, add a few sprigs of parsley.
Now, add the potatoes, tomatoes and sherry to the pot and cook for 10 or 15 minutes stirring a few times.
Now, add the cabbage , beans and stock. Lower the heat and cover the pot. When your wife walks in, bring the heat up, add the pasta and cook for 7 to 10 minutes more. While the soup is finishing, grate some cheese and toast some nice crusty bread.
Variations: Instead of cabbage, you can substitute sliced green beans. Instead of tomatoes you can (at the end) stir in pesto. Instead of anchovies, you can brown some bacon or pancetta , or soup meat or ground beef. You can use chicken stock or beef stock too.Great the next day also.