Friday, May 20, 2011

An All Season Minestrone

This is the latest shipment from South Central Farms. There is such a varying assortment of food including a couple of grapefruit. Another huge head of romaine has appeared as well, so salad has not disappeared from my diet. One new item that has appeared was a nice bunch of Italian parsley.

While searching for dishes to make that would include parsley, I found this contest winning recipe on Food52 and was sold. Not only did it use the parsley but it used all sorts of of other veggies that I had.

When I think of minestrone, I think of cold brisk air and the hearty tomato based soup warming me up. I decided that making one last wintry soup, before it gets really warm, was called for, especially since we've had a little bit of rain.
The following recipe is a modified version of the Food52 version. I will say that there are endless possibilities of changing this recipe and would all still end up with the same delicious result. I named it the All Season Minestrone because it uses vegetables from all four seasons.
Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Parsley Pesto
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 slices of bacon chopped into small pieces 
5 spring onions peeled and chopped
2 large cloves of garlic minced
8 medium sized carrots (I used the whole bunch)
1 zucchini + 1 little zucchini chopped
1 potato peeled and chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 15oz can of cooked chickpeas
1 28oz can of peeled tomatoes with juice
one bunch of kale chopped fine (this is maybe about 3 cups)
9 oz of dried tortellini
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook for a couple of minutes, until they start to brown.
  2. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil along with the onions and garlic. Continue to cook stirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened. 
  3. Add the chopped carrots, zucchini, potato and stir around for a minute or two.
  4.  Add the stock, the chickpeas, and then the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you go. Add a little salt if needed. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are just tender.
  5. Add the kale and the tortellini and continue to cook over a simmer until both are tender and cooked through. Serve garnished with a spoonful of pesto, a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar, and some Parmesan cheese.
Parsley Pesto
whole bunch of parsley
1 tablespoon of almonds
1 tablespoon of pepitas
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of Parmesan
3ish tablespoons of olive oil
  1.  Everything was thrown into a food processor and blended together. 
 No wonder this won a prize, this is so good. This smelled so good from the start that I could have just eaten the cooked onions and garlic with the semi raw veggies as it was. It was easy to make, used a ton of vegetables, and I cannot stress enough how good this tasted. Especially with the parsley pesto, it added just a little bit of extra freshness to all the other wonderful flavors. And I don't know if you've ever added balsamic vinegar to minestrone but it is delicious and gives a nice acidic flavor.

Minestrone with parsley pesto

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Split Pea Soup With Mixed Greens
Delicious Black Bean Chili

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