It was about 11 in the morning here when I realized — “What am I going to make for lunch?”
I scratched my head while I looked in the fridge. I had some leftover spaghetti sauce from a few nights ago, carrots, celery, spinach…. Hmmm…
The temperature had been dropping every hour here today too. So, I figured, that’s as good as any reason to make a soup. But… I have less than one hour to make this soup. We had to eat and run, and be out the door for 12:30. Could I do it? Absolutely!
11:02am. After looking at those ingredients and knowing my pantry is stocked to the point that my husband asks me occasionally if I’m preparing for a natural disaster… ha! — I definitely knew I had a can of diced tomatoes and kidney beans. Minestrone soup it was.
Side note/question — Do you say MinestronEE? or Minestrone? (Like throne?) I’m an Eeeeeeeee gal 🙂
11:04am. The count down was on. I grabbed a box of whole wheat pasta shells from the shelf and started to cook those first off. I find lately, I’ve been cooking my pasta separate when used in soups. Why? Sure, I know I just added another pot to the clean up, but I really really dislike soggy, mushy, falling apart noodles. Meh… Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for an al dente experience in my soup. I just like to know that my pasta is whole and has some texture left to it
Anyone who has experience cooking with gluten free pasta, can attest to my rant. Corn and Rice pastas are best cooked to firm, but if you sadly over cook them, or try to use them as leftovers the next day…They unfortunately have met their demise.
11:25am. The pasta’s cooking on the stove, my veggies are softening up in the “water saute,” and all I have left to do is pour in the tomatoes, beans, and broth. Beautiful. 20 minutes later…
11:45am. We are eating a veggie packed, hearty, Italian flavoured soup — all in less than an hour. I toasted some bread as an accompaniment, and we quickly devoured it before running off to completely our errands for the day. Mission Accomplished. (feel free to start humming the Mission Impossible theme song like I am right now… doo doo dudah doo… 🙂 )
- ½ of medium sized onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 16 oz can of kidney beans
- 1 cup of tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce
- 1.5 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 heaping tsp dried basil
- 1 heaping tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 pinch red chili flakes
- Salt & Pepper
- Prepare pasta as per package directions in a separate sauce pan. Drain, and rinse when done.
- Dice onion and mince garlic cloves.
- Combine both into a large sauce pan and "water saute" using ¼ cup of water in the pan over medium heat. Cover pan with a lid and bring to a boil.
- Chop the celery and carrots. Add to the pan once the onions begin to soften.
- Cover again, and let the veggies cook down for 4-5 more minutes.
- Add chopped zucchini, sliced mushrooms, herbs; parsley, basil, oregano and chili flakes. Cover, cook 3 more minutes. Stirring often.
- Add can of tomatoes, tomato sauce, and can of kidney beans along with vegetable broth. Stir and let simmer on low for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and stir in chopped spinach.
- Place about ½ cup of cooked pasta into each bowl, and fill with soup. Makes about 6 servings.
- Season with Salt & Pepper as desired.
I've chosen to keep the pasta separate from the soup base, to prevent the pasta from soaking up all of the liquid in the soup and turning soggy. (If you like soggy pasta, and more of to stew, over a soup. By all means, enjoy your "Stoup") -- Rachel Ray term 🙂