Thursday, June 7, 2012

Minestrone Soup

A recipe is merely words on paper; a guideline, a starting point from which to improvise. It cannot pretend to replace the practiced hand and telling glance of a watchful cook. For that reason feel free to stir your own ideas into this dish. When you cook it once, it becomes yours, so personalize it a bit. Add more of an ingredient you like or less of something you don't like. Try substituting one ingredient for another. Remember words have no flavour, you have to add your own! Ingredients 8 slices bacon, chopped 4 onions, peeled and diced 2 carrots, peeled and diced 2 stalks celery, diced 10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1 red pepper, seeded and diced 1 cup cauliflower florets 1 x 28 oz can whole tomatoes, with juice 1 litre chicken broth 1 tablespoon dried oregano 2 Parmesan rinds Sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2 large handfuls baby spinach 1 x 18 oz can white kidney beans Method Put the bacon into a 6-quart soup pot and brown it until it is crisp. Pour off half of the bacon fat and discard. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté for a few minutes. Add zucchini, red pepper, cauliflower, tomatoes and juice, chicken broth, oregano and Parmesan rinds. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender, but still hold their shape. Stir in baby spinach and beans and stir until spinach has wilted and beans are heated through.