It's cold, snowy, gray and its JUST the beginning!!! I've been making soups every week, eating half and freezing the rest. Minestrone is super easy, healthy and can be made vegetarian and vegan.
Yield: 6 quarts
Mise en Place
From left to right:
3 large cans of whole peeled tomatoes
1 large can garbanzo beans
1 pound ground chuck (omit for vegetarian and vegan; add more vegetables of any of these)
2 boxes chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegan or vegetarian)
1 white onion diced
2 dried bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 zucchini halved and sliced
2 large carrots chopped
2 c green beans (if not in season, frozen works but NOT canned)
3 stocks celery chopped
1 pound small pasta - I used small shells
Salt and Pepper for seasoning
Heat a large pot on high heat and add oil, 1-2 Tablespoons, swirl around the bottom to coat and add in the meat. (if making vegetarian and vegan, skip this part)
Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom and break up the meat. Its important to let it brown properly but NOT burn.
Add onion, celery, zucchini, green beans, carrots, bay leaves, and thyme. Add a liberal pinch of salt, about 1 Tablespoon (this is much less salt than comes in canned soup, especially for this quantity)
Mix vegetables with the meat to incorporate together.
Add in tomatoes, garbanzo beans and stock.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
Cook for 45 minutes on a simmer. You don't want to do further than this because the vegetables will cook down too much.
Taste. Salt. Taste. Adjust properly.
For the pasta, I cook just enough for what I'm serving and add it in then. The pasta absorbs liquid and would become soggy and overcooked if it sits in the soup.
Serve with fresh basil, parmesan cheese and flavorful bread.
This freezes beautifully and defrosts perfectly!