Sunday, August 21, 2011

Late Summertime Minestrone

Late Summertime Minestrone

PS (8/22/11): I just found out this evening that this blog was featured on Real Women of Philadelphia, "Live Richly," on August 3rd. Talk about being too busy lately to stop and smell the coffee. Imagine my surprise when I found out!

Many thanks to the editors for featuring my blog and an even bigger thanks to all the ladies at RWoP. What a great bunch of TALENTED home cooks!


Something about late summer that often brings on a round of colds and the flu.  It might be your job to get yourself and everyone else in your household healthy for back to school. 

This weekend, soup was on our menu as the hubby and I were both under the weather.  I didn’t want to make a soup that was too heavy or too winter-like, as it’s still in the 90’s outside.  I came up with this version of Minestrone which uses fresh veggies and whole gain penne pasta.  It’s not only lighter and delicious, but it’s just what the doctor ordered.

*Note:  I like to use sliced baby carrots for this dish because I think it looks pretty, but use whatever you have on hand.

**Note 2:  Substitute Vegetable Broth for Chicken Broth if you want to keep this dish vegetarian.


2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup Baby Carrots, thinly sliced*
¾ cup chopped Celery
2/4 cup thinly sliced Red Onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed dried Rosemary
Pinch or two of Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Course Sea Salt, more or less to taste
4 cups All Natural Chicken Broth**
1 – 28 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
1 – 15 ounce can Cannellini Beans or Light Red Kidney Beans, undrained
¼ cup Marsala Wine
Two Pinches of ground Allspice
2 cups Broccoli Florets
2 cups sliced Zucchini (slice into half moon shapes)
½ pound Whole Grain or Whole Wheat Penne Pasta

1/4 cup 2% Milk
1 cup seeded and chopped Tomato
Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Chopped Fresh Basil for Garnish, optional

Add olive oil to Dutch oven.  Turn to coat bottom of pan evenly.

Add carrots, celery and red onion.  Sauté for three minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.

Add garlic, rosemary and crushed red pepper to vegetables.  Continue to cook over medium-low heat for two minutes, making sure that the garlic does not burn.

Add sea salt and stir.  Cook one more minute.

Add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, Marsala wine and Allspice.  Stir well.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.  Cover but leave the lid ajar a bit so that the soup begins to reduce and thicken up; about 30 minutes.

Add broccoli, zucchini and penne pasta.  Bring soup back to a boil, uncovered, about 10 – 11 minutes until the pasta is cooked. 

Stir in 2% Milk.

Serve in big bowls with a side of crusty bread or garlic bread.  Top with fresh seeded tomato, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Suggestion:  If you have any leftovers, let it cool and then freeze it.  The pasta won’t have a chance to expand and soak up all of the remaining soup juices.  Thaw and reheat it in the microwave. 

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