…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? Fall into winter is soup season. Actually, any time is a good time for soups—even chilled soups are hearty and fulfilling during warmer months. A cozy, warm bowl of soup is exactly what many of us need during these cold days of winter.
Joan’s favorite soup is minestrone… Italians have been enjoying it for centuries. But how did this hearty soup make its way from Italy to our tables here in America? It’s all due to the popularity of the soup and its versatile recipe.
Minestrone is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine and may even be more widely dispersed and enjoyed throughout Italy than pasta. The soup was initially made from small things leftover from previous meals, combined so as not to waste perfectly good food. Sounds perfect for today’s waste reduction focused population.
Gradually, the standard minestrone recipe changed, and by the 18th century, the word “minestrone” no longer implied a soup made from leftovers, and instead indicated the soup recipe we are now familiar with, which is made for its own sake. Additionally in America, the soup is now often a starter dish instead of the main course.
Minestrone is a thick pasta- and vegetable-based soup. You can add any number of veggies and carbs you choose to make this soup even heartier. The core ingredients, however, are most often celery, onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, olive oil and pasta. It is often topped with shredded parmesan.
I created my minestrone soup for T.R.’s Restaurants in Wichita as a way to utilize unused veggies. If you love Minestrone and don’t want to ingest the excess sodium and lack of veggies in the canned varieties, then take an hour out of the day and make T.R.’s Minestrone Soup. Serve with hearty, crusty bread, romaine salad and a nice merlot.
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced
4 cups tomato sauce
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup red wine
2 large pieces of Parmesan cheese rinds (see ChefSecret below)
3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can green beans, drained (or fresh if you have them)
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small sea shell or elbow pasta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping
1 tablespoon olive oil
ChefSecret: I like to throw in a couple of leftover Parmesan cheese rinds when I start to simmer the soup. The soup also gets topped with shredded Parmesan when serving, but adding the rind to the pot while the soup is simmering gives it additional depth and a nutty flavor that takes the already-excellent soup up a notch. Plus, it’s a way to get a little more use out of expensive Parmesan cheese that you might have otherwise discarded.
As Parmesan cheese ages, the outside of the wheel naturally hardens more than the inside and becomes what we call the rind. It’s still cheese. It’s still edible, but it’s not too enjoyable to eat in its hardened cured form. Instead of tossing them, keep them in a freezer zip-top storage bag in your freezer until you’re making a soup, stew, risotto, pasta sauce or another dish that could benefit from some extra depth of flavor.
Remove the Parmesan rind before serving the soup. It will be soft and mushy. You could brush olive oil and garlic on slices of baguette or Italian bread, toast it up, and spread the softened rinds on the slices of bread to eat.
Quip of the Day: What do the ducks have for dinner? They have Quackers and soup, of course!
Do you have a question or comment? Do you want to share a favorite recipe or pictures with our readers? Send your thoughts to email@example.com. All recipes and cooking tips are posted on our website https://www.perspectives-la.com/covid-19-survival-guide.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America and/or American Red Cross.
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