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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Minestrone Soup

This is a really wonderful soup. I especially enjoy making it in the summer when I can use a lot of items out of my garden. But you can make it at any time of the year. It makes a good amount of soup, but it freezes well and also makes great leftovers. In fact, I think it tastes better on the second day. I'll often make this for company, but cook it up a day or two ahead of time. Then I simply reheat it to serve. Be sure to top it with generous amount of a grated cheese such as Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano.

Minestrone Soup
Yield: 10-12 cups

3 TBS olive oil
2 TBS minced garlic
1/4 cup green onions, chopped (green parts too)
1 medium onion, minced
1 cup chopped celery, leaves included
2 carrots, shredded

2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes (with juice)
6 cups water
1 15 oz cans red kidney beans
1 15 oz cans cannellini beans
2/3 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 TBS dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 TBS dried basil
1 TBS dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried rosemary

2 small zucchini, halved and sliced
1 cup small shells

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over fairly high heat. Add garlic, onions, celery, and carrots to the oil and saute for about 1 minutes, until they begin to soften and brown slightly. Add the next two batches of ingredients (do not add the zucchini or shells yet). Stir to mix. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Add zucchini and cook for 15 minutes and then add shells and cook for 15 minutes more. Soup is then ready to serve or you can cool it and store in the refrigerator to serve another day. Keeps for up to five days in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to one year.

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