Thursday, April 18, 2013

Loaded Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is a classic thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables and often with the addition of pasta or rice. Other common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock and tomatoes. There really is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is often made with whatever vegetables are in season. Roman beans (also called Borlotti beans) "are the beans to use for 'genuine' minestrone". Minestrone is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine, and is almost as common as pasta on Italian tables.

Ingredients Needed:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can white beans, cannellini or navy (drained and rinsed)
  • 8 cups low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into bite-sized chunks
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms (any variety), cut into quarters
  • 1 pkg frozen whole-leaf spinach, thawed*
  • 1/2 lb chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces (optional)
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cooked small pasta (like ditallini or elbows), al dente (I used Barilla whole grain elbows) 
  • freshly-grated Parmigiano cheese, to top
  • croutons, to top (optional)
How to Make It:
  • Rinse and drain beans and set aside.
  • In a large soup pot, combine broth, water, tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, celery and herbs. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • 45 minutes before soup is done, add chicken, zucchini, spinach and beans. Cover and cook 30 more minutes.
  • Add cooked pasta and cook 10 minutes more.
  • Remove rosemary sprig and bay leaves.
  • Season to taste with salt and fresh black pepper.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and top with freshly-grated Parmigiano cheese and croutons.
*You can use any other green, leafy vegetable in place of spinach!
Recipe from SkinnyTaste; Modified by Claudia

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