Hearty Minestrone SoupSubmitted by: TLOGIRL
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tsp minced bottled garlic)
3 medium yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1/2" cubes/pieces (equals about 1.5 - 2 cups chopped)
1 cup chopped carrot, in about 1/2" chunks
1 tbsp italian seasoning
11 cups low-sodium, low-fat chicken or vegetable broth (equivalent to about 6 cans [14.5 oz each] of broth)
1 large can (28 oz.) stewed tomatoes (crushed or diced, not whole)
1 can (14.5 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup chopped fresh green beans, in about 1" long pieces
1.5 - 2 cups chopped fresh zucchini or summer squash, in about 1/2" chunks
1.5 cups broccoli florets, broken into small pieces no more than 1/2" - 1" in size
1 can (14.5 oz) cannelini or northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups (or 2 handfuls) baby spinach, roughly / barely chopped (ie. run your knife through the pile once or twice)
1 cup uncooked small seashell pasta (or elbow pasta)
* Be sure to use the largest stockpot you have on hand. I use an 8 quart pot when I make this recipe.
* I know it sounds like alot of soup, and it is, but it keeps in the fridge for 2 weeks and freezes beautifully. We rarely end up freezing any because we typically polish it off over about a week, and we are a family of just two adults and one toddler.
* This recipe calls for a fair amount of prep work chopping veggies, but just think about how much awesome, nutritious soup you will have in the end. My advice if you are in a hurry: recruit a willing sous chef OR buy pre-cut veggies from the market.
* When chopping the various veggies, try to make the pieces fairly uniform in size so they cook evenly and are easy to manage on the spoon, about 1/2" in diameter (or cubed) is a good goal.
(1) Heat olive oil in bottom of stockpot over medium-high heat.
(2) Add onions to hot oil and saute for 1-2 minutes.
(3) Add garlic to pot and saute for additional 1 minute, until lightly browned. Turn heat down slightly if needed to avoid overcooking garlic.
(4) Add potatoes, carrots and italian seasoning to stockpot. Cover and saute, stirring periodically, over medium-high heat for five to seven minutes or until veggie pieces have softened slightly when pierced with fork (NOT cooked completely).
(5) Add broth, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cover and increase heat to medium-high if not already there. Bring to a boil.
(6) Taste your soup at this point. Season lightly with a bit of salt, pepper, and/or italian seasoning, if you like. Do not over-season at this point as flavors will continue to evolve as you add remaining ingredients.
(6) Add green beans and zucchini / squash. Reduce heat to low-medium (maintaining a constant simmer) and keep uncovered. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
(7) Add remaining ingredients (beans, broccoli, spinach and pasta). Continue to cook at robust simmer (low boil) under potatoes, carrots and green beans are cooked to your liking (firm-tender is my recommendation). Pasta should be al dente. If pasta gets overcooked it will become fairly mushy and breakdown in the soup, which doesn't affect the taste but will thicken the broth.
(8) Season to taste with salt, pepper & italian seasoning. You can also add more liquid (either broth or tomato sauce) if you prefer more soupy vs. stew-like consistency. Be aware that the potato and pasta have a fair amount of starch and that the soup will thicken up some with time and refrigeration.
(9) Serve with crusty bread and top with shredded parmesan or romano cheese.
Number of Servings: 12
Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user TLOGIRL.