Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall Cooking-Minestrone Time!

Image source here

Aaaaaaaaaand......just like that, Fall is here.  It's like the occurence of Labor Day signaled some shift and what was warm and summery is now cool, crisp and swathed in morning fog.

This slight nip in the air, accompanied by a steady, cold drizzle yesterday drove us indoors and into the kitchen.

Otto and I decided to make Minestrone- a great soup to make with kids and, let's face it, fucking delicious to boot. 

Minestrone (Adapted and changed a little from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook)

2 tbs Olive Oil
A big onion, chopped
Lots of garlic (5 cloves or so), minced
Some sea salt...maybe 1 1/2 tsp.
One or two celery stalks, diced
One or two carrots, diced
One chopped bell pepper, any color (we chose orange, but red and green are great too)
One zucchini squash, diced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A well rinsed and drained can of Garbanzo Beans
Some dry pasta- (any shape-we like penne) , 3/4 to 1 cup, give or take
15 oz. can of tomato puree or sauce
3 tbs. or so of dry, drinkable red wine (optional)
4 cups of organic chicken broth (or water or veggie stock, if you wanna go vegetarian like Mollie)
2 ripe, fresh tomatoes, diced
Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped

First,  chop all the choppables and set them aside, ready to be dumped in the soup pot when the time comes.  Then heat the oil in a big ol' soup pot, and add the onion, garlic and salt.  Stir and cook and smell for about 5 minutes.  Next, add the carrots, celery, oregano, basil, and black pepper.  Stir and cook and smell again until it's all mixed up.  Put a lid on it, reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes.

"Onions hurt my eyes but they smell good, Mom."

Pop the lid off, throw in your bell pepper, your zucchini, the chicken stock (or water) and tomato puree and wine if you've got it.  Stir it up, bring to a simmer and cover and cook for about 15 minutes.  Throw in the chick peas.  Cook another 5 minutes.

Bring the soup to a gentle boil, throw in your pasta and cook until its done.

Don't you feel comforted and warmed just looking at that?

Inhale deeply.

At the last minute, once your pasta is nice and edible, toss in the diced tomato and stir.  Serve with parsley and Parmesan and maybe some crusty bread and butter on the side.

Oh, and pour yourself a glass of that wine.

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