V and I are watching “Chopped” on the Food Network. We’ve literally never watched anything on the Food Network before, but whaddaya know, it’s really enjoyable! And…stressful! You wouldn’t think it’d be that interesting or that dramatic, but it totally is, and they’re using all these crazy ingredients I’ve never heard of. Mamey? (apparently a fruit) Duck tongue? Okay I know what duck tongue IS, but…
Anyway – not relevant. We are a little more humble here at Sconnie Sustenance. Minestrone is pretty damn humble and is insanely easy to make. It’s kind of my go-to dinner when I a) don’t have a lot of food in the house, b) don’t want meat and c) want something healthy. Fortunately, these are all ingredients I pretty much always have on hand.
(adapted from Cookie Monster Cooking)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 an onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 32 oz box of vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you don’t care about keeping it vegetarian)
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 zucchini, sliced into quarters
- 1/4 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 cup dried elbow macaroni (or shells, or something similar)
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
- as much grated parmesan cheese as you please
Heat the oil in a large deep pot. While it warms, chop up your onion and then add to the pan, along with the garlic. Swirl it around so as not to burn.
Pour in the box of vegetable broth and can of diced tomatoes. Add diced carrots, sliced zucchini, and chopped celery as well as the basil, oregano and sugar. Put the lid halfway on the pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes is up, add the elbow macaroni and cook for another 8-10 minutes.
Finally, add in your drained and rinsed black beans and salt and pepper. Stir it up good and pour into bowls. Now, this next part is my personal favorite: shake as much parmesan cheese as you want over that bowl. It probably goes without saying that I prefer a heavy hand with the parm. It’s all the better if you buy a quality bag of grated parmesan.
The original recipe also called for 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. The first time I made the recipe, I followed those directions and did not care for the taste the balsamic vinegar imparted on the soup. Too tart. I really don’t recommend using it.
Also, the original recipe did not include any celery, I just added that because I had some I needed to use up. And it called for 5 cups (40 oz) of vegetable broth, but the package of broth boxes that I get from Costco come in 32 oz containers, and 32 oz has worked just fine for me thus far.
Try it and let me know how you like it!