Wish Upon A Dish: Monday Soup Night - Minestrone (Morph #1)

January 17, 2011

Monday Soup Night - Minestrone (Morph #1)

Tonight is an example of 'use what you have if what you have is no time'.

Monday has been soup day in this house for the last 3 years. During the winter, I use Mondays as the 'clean out the refrigerator' day.

In most Italian homes, this is standard procedure. Some will make a frittata or a pasta dish, but the majority will make soup. Italians eat soup even in the hottest days of the year.

I love soup and am converting The Nudge. At first I made the basic soups, chicken & noodle, minestrone, French onion, tomato, beef barley and cream of 'whatever'.

I found out The Nudge does not like cream of mushroom or cream of potato, etc. He prefers a broth based soup.

OK, yell at me now for last week's Carrot and Parsnip Soup but that soup had only a smidgen of cream in it, just enough to round out the mouth feel.
He does not mind a pureed soup as long as 75% of it isn't cream-based.

He does love a good Minestrone, I mean, who doesn't?
The vegetables get really soft and sweet, the beans are creamy and rich and the pasta will get your kids (or Dad's, mine loves plenty of noodles in his soup) to love it.

I had every intention of making this soup as the recipe called for but I ended up not being home till 30 minutes before dinnertime.

I had to eliminate a few step to put diner on the table. That was the pesto croutons and the farro (needs to soak for at least 1 hour).

I ended up using soup pasta and store bought cornbread croutons.

I adjusted the recipe accordingly but left the pesto croutons on in case you decide you want to make them.

Minestrone with Pesto Croutons
serves 6
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 4oz unsmoked bacon or chopped pancetta
* 2 large carrots, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
* 1 cup chopped tomatoes in their juice
* 1 quart vegetable stock + 1 cup water
* 2 tsp chopped sage leaves, or 1 tsp dried
* 1/2 cup coleslaw mix
* 1 cup lima beans
* 1 cup soup pasta
* 1 bay leaf
* handful chopped spinach, rapini or chard
* cheese rind (optional)

* slices of crusty bread
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 1 tbsp pesto

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and pancetta or bacon and fry for about 5 mins until the onion is starting to brown. Tip in the carrots, celery, and garlic, stir well and cook for a few minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, stock and sage, and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce heat to simmer and cook partly covered for 30 mins, stirring in the cabbage after 15 mins. Add the limas to the pan with the parsley. Season and serve with pesto croûtes, see right, or crusty bread.
3. For the pesto croûtes: Cut 3-4 slices of crusty whole wheat bread into chunks, about 1" thick. Tip into an ovenproof pan. Mix the olive oil and pesto, then add to the bread, tossing it with your hands until the croûtes are evenly coated. Bake in a moderate oven for about 10 mins until crisp.

If you are adding pasta or egg noodles, cook them separately so that they do not soak up all the good broth and make the soup starchy. I would omit the croutons.

To make it vegetarian leave out the bacon and use 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms instead.

This may seem like a lot of calories for a soup but it is a complete meal in a bowl and includes the croutons.

People tend to forget that in a balanced meal, you eat a protein at around 350 cal, a starch at 350 cal and a vegetable at 250 cal. That is almost 1000 cal in just your dinner.
Add a salad or a roll....you are up there baby. If you truly want to loose weight (and not just eat healthier) you have got to measure everything. That is why Weight Watchers is so successful.

This is such a nutritional powerhouse of a soup that you will feel full on less.

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