SC* Minestrone Soup

by Anne Bennett on October 28, 2010

In his memoir, “A Christmas Memory,” Truman Capote wrote about how his distant cousin Sook arose one cold morning in late November and declared, “It’s fruitcake weather.” They then embarked on their annual trek of gathering the ingredients to make 30 fruitcakes.

I love fruitcake, perhaps not so much the thing itself as the seasonal ritual of gathering the long list of ingredients and macerating dried fruit in brandy for several days beforehand. (The kitchen takes on a boozy, fruity aroma that wafts through the entire house and is as enticing as the scent of a freshly cut Christmas tree.)

It is not yet fruitcake weather here. However, soup season is in full swing. Finally, after a long, inordinately hot Midwest summer during which the thought of consuming anything hot was inconceivable, we can return to steamy bowls of veggies, beans and pasta.

Here is the minestrone I make when I want a soup-bowl full of healthy comfort food at its best. It’s adapted from Cooking Light’s “Slow Cooker” cookbook. Over time I’ve made minor changes according to my tastes and what was on hand. For instance, I don’t use flavored canned tomatoes (Cooking Light calls for diced tomatoes with garlic, whereas I like to add my own seasonings.) Also, the recipe calls for a 10-oz. package of frozen chopped spinach; I prefer to toss in chopped fresh spinach near the end of cooking time. Choose your poison.

This is a soup that you can devour humongous quantities of without suffering any qualms that you’re overindulging. Go ahead–eat your soup! It’s good for you!

Anne arose one cool morning in late October and declared, “It’s soup weather!”

2 t. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 baking potato, peeled and chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
3 14-oz. cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes and their juice
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 t. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup uncooked small pasta (I used shells)
1 5-oz. package fresh baby spinach, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

In a nonstick skillet heat olive oil and cook onions and garlic until they begin to soften. Add to slow cooker along with all ingredients except pasta and spinach and cook on LOW for 5 hours. Add pasta and spinach and cook on LOW for 30 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Add water if soup is too thick. Serve with grated cheese.

Serves: 6 (each serving is 2 cups)

*Slow Cooker

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

amy October 29, 2010 at 7:13 am

I love soup and that’s the only reason I even consider liking cold weather.

Nicole December 5, 2010 at 7:45 am

Made this yesterday. Didn’t mess it up. Tastes great. Freezing half. Can’t wait to have for lunch with a hard roll.

Tatyana January 31, 2011 at 9:42 pm

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Jaydin January 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm

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