Continuing with my veggie lust, I thought that a big batch of minestrone would fit the bill and get my family to eat some vegetables. Hubby and NR were both under the weather and I believe in the restorative power of soup. But neither guy is big on vegetables, so I knew the soup would have to have a bit more going on than just that.
Minestrone typically uses ingredients that you have on hand, whatever is in season. For mine, I used some zucchini, carrots, asparagus and some heirloom tomatoes. To make the dish a bit heartier, you could use potatoes or beans but I went with pasta and some meatballs. The veggies were prominent so it still is a minestrone in my book and it was tasty. Even if some of the veggies stayed at the bottom of the bowl, NR took in some, along with the broth, so the minestrone did its job. Plus, it made good leftovers. Here’s my concoction:
Mama D’s Minestrone:
1 sweet onion – coarsely chopped
1.5 cups chopped peeled baby carrots
2 cups chopped asparagus
1 cup cubed zucchini
4 cups chicken stock
salt, pepper, dried basil
1/2 package small pasta (I used orecchiette, but anything small would work) (approximately 8 ounces)
20 or so of your favorite cooked meatballs (your recipe or a good frozen meatball that has been thawed and cooked)
4 large heirloom (or flavorful) tomatoes, with juice
In the bottom of a heavy stockpot, over medium heat, add three tablespoons olive oil. Warm oil and add onions and carrots, saute for about five minutes. Add asparagus, zucchini, and stock. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add salt (about 2tsp) and pepper (about 1/2 tsp) to taste. Add 1.5 tsp of dried basil. Cover and cook 1 hour.
Prepare tomatoes by chopping into cubes, reserving any juice. Add tomatoes, reserved juice and pasta to soup. Increase heat to medium-high. Add cooked meatballs and cover pot for approximately 20 minutes. Check soup for seasoning (I added another 2tsp of salt) and pasta for doneness.