Monday, December 27, 2010

He wants minestrone, he gets minestrone

Did I mention finals just ended?  I moved here during one of Rafe's most difficult seasons, so since I have a bit more flexibility in my schedule, I tried to make life a little easier on him.

(You may think he has it made, but although I cook he often cleans up my messes.  Also, the first night we got snow/ice he moved my car into the garage for me....ahhhh domestic bliss).

I asked him if there was anything he was craving - and he asked for a veggie soup.  A kind of minestrone.

I'm really picky about my veggie soups. 
Damnit, I really try to like an all-vegetable mix.  But its not the same as a delicious broth with little meatballs or sausage.  So, as a compromise, this recipe starts with a little pancetta.  It is the only meat I included, but even that tiny bit makes a world of flavor different.  I didn't just like this soup - I found myself craving it. 

Yes, me, a soup full of veggies - and craving - in the same sentence!!

Finals-worthy Minestrone

1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 16oz can cannellini beans
2 cloves garlic
2 slices pancetta, diced
2 large carrots, cut into rounds           
celery (1 large stalk, diced)           
onion (1 large, chopped)                     
tomato paste (1 tablespoon)
red wine (1/8th cup)
kale (or spinach)
rosemary (fresh, ½ tsp chopped)

Dice pancetta.  In a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat, render the pancetta until it is crisp.  Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon, and remove all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat from the pan. (if you don't have quite a tablespoon of reserved fat, just add a little olive oil- if you'd like to omit the pancetta, use all olive oil)

Add the chopped onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently until translucent.  Add garlic and continue stirring until it is fragrant (about 1 minute).  Add tomato paste and stir until the paste begins to stick to the pan.  Deglaze with the red wine.  Bring the wine to a boil and reduce by half.  Add carrots, tomatoes, beans, stock, and water.  Cover and let simmer.  Add the shredded kale (or spinach) and pasta.

 Serve with bread, and extra parmesan for topping.  I made little parmesan crostinis.  I sliced a baguette, then toasted it just a bit, rubbed with a raw clove of garlic, then drizzled with olive oil, topped with some parmesan, and then put it back into the oven just to brown a little on the edges.

This was a great winter soup, quick to put together and delicious and warming!  Maybe he was on to something with this!!  Feel free to play around with the veggies and beans depending on your preference.

What is your favorite vegetable soup?


  1. this soup looks amazing and I am finding myself with a serious craving right about now!

  2. This looks great... I like the little bit of pancetta you snuck in there. I am sick -- yet again -- and would love a huge bowl of this right now.

  3. I need this soup today with all this snow here in MA! Your man is quite lucky.

  4. oh wow that looks really really good, I could go for some soup to warm my belly on this very snowy day

  5. I agree that a just little bit of pancetta can add tons of flavor. This soup sounds perfect for our snowy weather!

  6. I'm craving a big bowl of veggie soup right about now - looks super yummy!

  7. Rafe's a lucky guy! This soup looks awesome! And I totally feel your pain. I have a hard time making soup without a little bit of meat. It just makes it taste so much better!

  8. Your soup looks great and so does your parmesan toasts! Yum!

  9. This is such a great soup! I'll bet you'll be making more of these with your new Dutch oven!

  10. This looks so good! I want nothing more than this on such a wet snowy day