Whenever I read the words, "Because I'm a food blogger I never make the same thing twice", it makes me a little bit sad. I can't imagine not whipping up the girls' favorites or a recipe that has been handed down over and over again. Maybe it's because I favor more traditional things or I'm embarrassed to say it, "A little old-fashioned."
Even though I'm constantly trying new things, nothing makes me happier on the inside than when I go to my mom or in-law's house and they have one of my favorites prepared. I don't care how many times I've had it prepared that same way, I can hear a whisper in my head - I love you, that is why I made your favorite.
Minestrone is one of those happy memory dishes. It's one my younger daughters' favorites and I know every time I make it, she will eat it and be happy to do so.
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
32 ounces vegetable broth
1 quart whole tomatoes, crushed or 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (canned)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2-3 teaspoons salt or more if needed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 - 15 ounce can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 zucchini, sliced
8 ounces cooked ditalini pasta
2 cups spinach or Swiss chard (optional)
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Add the vegetable stock and be sure and to stir the bottom to get the color up from the bottom of the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes. I broke into my San Marzano tomatoes from the summer and I'm glad I did, they still taste as good as the day they were picked.
Add the thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaves and let the soup come to a boil on medium heat, cook for 15 minutes.
Add the beans, zucchini, and pasta also the greens if you are going to use them, cook five minutes. Remove bay leaves.
My daughter dislikes the greens, so I serve her hers and then will add the greens for the rest of us.
Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Traditionally you would place a Parmesan rind in the pot, but I don't usually have rinds lying around, so I usually omit that step.
You guys are probably thinking where are your I'm crazy-busy getting ready for Christmas posts? Yes, I'm busy getting ready for the holiday, but I'm not being crazy about it. I've decided this year I'm not taking on too many things. Unfortunately this whole year has been a bit stressful for me and I'm giving myself the gift of - it's okay to just sit back and enjoy being together. I've had to take on new tasks, so I had to let some go. I guess I'm just rebalancing, one should never be so out of balance that you keep being weighed down from it all.