As I sit at my computer writing my Blog, I watch the snow fall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – inches of snow! And, as February 2010 soon comes to a close, and the month of March comes in like a ‘lion’, I am reminded of the savory soups that nourish us, warm us (inside and out), and permeate our homes with enough to share with our friends.
As a child, each year, my grandfather, (Nuno) planted a HUGE garden. Vegetables from his garden, and fruit from his trees were abundant, organic, and flavorful. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs were picked at their ‘peak’ of flavor and perfection. The foods were canned, dried, and preserved for the cold winter months. Nuno made his homemade wine, which stocked his cold cellar for at least an entire year.
My Grandmother, (Noni) became very busy and created her ‘magic‘ in the kitchen. She turned his harvest into ‘gold’ as we savored her delectable creations! And, when someone walked into their home, you sat, drank wine, and ate…and ate…and ate… It would otherwise be an insult. There were extra chairs, and they had room for more… The wonderful foods that Noni prepared mirrored smiles from each of us. I believe the smiles and praises made her work worthwhile. She found contentment in her reward, and Nuno found contentment in his.
As I reminisce in those moments of days past, and the cold temperatures as I look outside my window, I wish to share with you a family-favorite soup recipe.
I hope this Minestrone recipe warms you, your family, and your friends. ~ Buon Appetito!
Minestrone (Page 40)
3 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large, sweet onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
¼ pound of fresh green beans, chopped with ends snipped
1 small head of cabbage, finely chopped
28 oz. can of Italian plum tomatoes, diced
½ teaspoon dried basil, or 1 Tablespoon fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6-1/2 cups beef broth (fresh or canned)
16 oz of cannellini beans – (canned or fresh cooked)
beef soup bone (optional)
½ pound small pasta, cooked and drained
Wash and chop all vegetables. In a large soup pot, heat the better and olive oil. Add the garlic onion, celery, and cabbage. Sauté until tender. Add the soup bone and remaining vegetables, liquids, tomatoes, basil, sugar, and salt. Heat to boiling, and then reduce to a low heat and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain. Set aside. Add the beans and cook another 30 minutes. Stir in the cooked pasta, and serve with shaved Parmesan cheese and crusty bread (if desired).
Note: This soup is loaded with vitamins and minerals; is low in calorie; inexpensive to prepare; and a great addition to add to your freezer for meals on-the-GO!