Minestrone. A classic Italian vegetable soup, I see minestrone offered everywhere — served alongside sandwiches at small cafes, as the zuppa di giorno (“soup of the day” in Italian) at a hole-in-the-wall ristorante, by the ladle-full in salad bars, and even out of a can. Made with seasonal and available vegetables, every batch is different. But one thing is for sure – the final product is hearty, comforting, and packed with nature’s bounty.
Aside from simply having too much squash leftover from our ratatouille adventures, what really inspired me to make minestrone was the fact that while Martin enjoyed my pasta e fagioli, he spent much of his time picking out the cannellini beans. You can’t have pasta e fagioli without the fagioli, but you can have a similar broth enveloping a medley of vegetables sans legumes. Without further ado…
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 zucchinis, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
3-4 dried bay leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme)
1 32 fl oz (quart) vegetable stock (or beef stock)
1/2 lb small pasta, like ditalini, stars, orzo, etc.
Salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Heat a stock pot over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic and onions in a bit of olive oil until translucent.
Step 2: Prep the vegetables, dicing them into evenly diced cubes.
Step 3: Add the vegetables and saute with a sprig of fresh thyme for a few minutes until softened and aromatic. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 4: Pour in the canned tomatoes (including the juices) and toss in one or two additional sprigs of fresh thyme along with the bay leaves.
Step 5: Add the stock and bring to a boil, tasting and seasoning as you go.
Step 6: In a small pot, boil salted water and cook the pasta according to package instructions.
Step 7: When the broth has come to a boil and the vegetables are tender but not mushy, it’s ready to go.
In each bowl, portion a scoop of pasta, about 1 cup. Ladle the broth and vegetables over the pasta and serve immediately.
Makes about 4 hearty servings, perfect for a cold wintery night. Because you know, anything below 75 degrees Fahrenheit counts as “wintery” here in LA.