For those of you who don’t know, I’m a twin. Growing up we were so competitive – as most twins are. Sibling rivalry times 100. She walked, talked, learned to read, write and did everything else way before I did. She even made all the sports teams (I didn’t even bother trying out for them because I knew I was a runt and would get squashed). All I had were grades and food to work with.
I tried really hard in school and came out on top during report card time and during dinner I would eat everything, including my mother’s minestrone that was full of vegetables and my sister would complain the whole time. Now that I don’t live with my sister anymore, I’ve put my kids up to the challenge – whoever eats their vegetables will be mamma’s favourite J All kidding aside, kids are super competitive and this actually works, especially with boys!
This is my favourite time of year to make minestrone soup. You can pop over to your grocery store or farmers market and pick up all the fresh and local ingredients. Thanksgiving is upon us and in our family we always start with a soup dish. This soup is a meal on its own so if you’re serving this soup with your turkey dinner, use small soup bowls or one ladle per guest to make sure everyone has room for the turkey. Trust me, I speak from experience!
- 2 strips Bacon, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely diced
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, trimmed and chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
- 1 small zucchini, trimmed and chopped
- 2 medium sized potatoes, chopped small
- 1 400ml can cannellini beans, rinsed
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cans (350ml) of chopped plum tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- ½ head white cabbage, sliced
- 1 cup / 100g Ditali pasta or short pasta
- Extra-virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Garnish: Basil, Parmesan Cheese
- Heat 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped bacon and fry it until it’s lightly crisp and golden brown.
- Add the chopped garlic, onion, celery, carrots, zucchini, oregano and bay leaf and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the cannellini beans, chopped potatoes and canned tomatoes to the pot and stir. Pour the stock into the pot and give it another good stir.
- Turn up the heat slightly, replace the lid on the pot and bring everything to a boil. Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat slightly and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until the potato is cooked through.
- Add the pasta and the cabbage to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked to ‘al dente’.
- Add some more stock if you feel the soup needs more and stir. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste the soup and add seasoning if desired. Garnish with basil and/or Parmesan cheese and serve with a fresh baguette.