Italian food is always my favorite and even in the soup department it does not disappoint. Here's my favorite minestrone that I make over and over again--it's very easy and quite healthy and is perfect for a cold evening.
The list of ingredients is really more of a suggestion than anything--find your own tasties to add to the mix.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small onion, diced
12 ounces diced ham
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
8 cups of chicken broth
1 14-ounce can of chick peas, undrained (or pinto beans)
1 14-ounce can of quartered artichoke hearts, undrained (or a small zucchini, sliced)
1 28-ounce can of petite diced tomatoes (or chunkier if you like)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup whole wheat penne or elbow macaroni
freshly grated parmesan for topping
You can tell by my ingredients that it's kind of a casual thing to put together, substitute at will and it'll probably turn out terrific. Start by sauteing the onion, garlic, carrots and ham in the olive oil until the onions are soft, about five minutes. Add the broth, beans or chick peas, artichoke hearts or zucchini, tomatoes, oregano and spices. Note that I don't drain the beans or artichoke hearts merely because the water they're packed in has flavor--if you're watching your salt you might want to drain things.
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Then bring things back to a boil and add the pasta, stirring to prevent it from clumping, then simmer until the pasta is ready--tender but still slightly chewy.
Serve with parmesan on top. You might note, too, that this is one of those soups where it's even better the second day--the flavors meld together just wonderfully.
And just because I'm full of laughs today I'm posting this highly scientific quiz.
How long would YOU survive if you were chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor? I'm afraid I'd only make it 51 seconds at best. (Found at Joyful Days who is a joy to read).
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