It isn’t easy writing “up” things when I, or those I love, are experiencing sadnesses or hard challenges. You’ve heard me talk about this dilemma before.
Right now our little community and much of California is experiencing rain and flooding. People are evacuated and waiting to see/hear about the status of their homes. Most are tired of the grey and news of continuing rain and wind. Certainly the drought situation is being ameliorated and that’s a good thing. But many people are suffering.
SO…how to contribute something positive but realistic in my blog about bringing joy to the table? “Make minestrone,” says my Italian self.
And that’s what I did on Sunday. Since then, we have had warm, yummy soup everyday to help comfort us as we deal with whatever weather comes our way.
I published my family recipe for minestrone in this blog many years ago; I include it again here as my small contribution to the nourishment, comfort and pleasure of anyone who needs it and feels like cooking!
1 ½ cups dried cranberry beans (sorted, cleaned, covered with water by 3 inches and soaked overnight) or 2-15 oz. cans of kidney (or pinto) beans
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
5 leaves fresh basil, chopped; or 1 tablespoon, dried
1 bay leaf
1 ½ T. Italian herbs
1 T. dry rosemary, chopped
2 zucchini, 2 celery ribs, 2 carrots, 1 fennel bulb, 5 or 6 leaves of swiss chard. Plus 1 cup shredded white or red cabbage, 1 cubed potato, and 1 cup green beans cut into thirds
8 cups broth (vegetable, chicken or beef)
2 T. butter
3 T. tomato paste
4 oz. dry spaghetti, broken into thirds
8 oz. sliced cooked chicken sausage (optional)
2 T. pesto sauce (optional)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, herbs. Sauté until onions are soft. Add all the chopped vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the beans and broth and bring to a boil. (If using canned beans, add them halfway into the cooking time.) Add the butter and tomato paste. Simmer for at least an hour, or until beans are soft. Remove bay leaf.
Add the spaghetti and sausage (if desired), return to a slow boil and cook until the pasta is done.
To give the soup a Ligurian touch, just before serving, mix in the pesto sauce.
Top with Parmesan cheese.
Accompany the minestrone with a local olive bread or sour dough baguette and a nice glass of Pinot Grigio, if so inclined, and…