Summer Minestrone Soup
When it’s summer’s high season, and the garden is overflowing with more vegetables than one can reasonably consume, a great way to make use of the bounty is to make minestrone soup. A few zucchini here, a couple chopped tomatoes there, some beans, grab the lonely leek that’s sitting in the fridge, add some chicken stock, a handful of pasta, and in a few minutes you have summer in a soup.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 onion)
- 1/2 cup sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (see How to Clean Leeks), about 1/2 leek
- 1/2 cup diced celery (about one celery rib)
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1/4 of one bell pepper)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
- 6 cups chicken stock (can use good quality vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (add more salt if using unsalted stock)
- 2 cups large dice zucchini (or other summer squash such as crookneck or pattypan)
- 1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup cooked small white beans
- 1/2 cup dry ditalini or any small pasta (omit for gluten-free option)
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
- Sauté onions, leeks, celery, bell pepper, garlic, in olive oil: Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium high. Add the diced onion, leeks, celery, and bell pepper. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until softened, lowering the heat to medium to prevent browning. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more, until fragrant.
- Add stock, seasonings, beans, pasta, vegetables, then simmer: Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, and salt to the pot. Increase heat to bring to a simmer, then add the zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, white beans, and pasta. Heat to a simmer again and lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables and the pasta are cooked through.
- Garnish with basil and Parmesan: Garnish with thinly sliced fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese to serve.
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