Hearty Vegetable Minestrone Soup
1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup of water
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalk, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
2 cups broccoli florets, cut small
1/2 small cabbage, shredded
1 cup cauliflower cut into small piece
2 teaspoons salt
1 (28-ounce) can of chopped tomatoes
1 quart chicken stock, homemade, or store bought organic chicken broth
2 (15-ounce) cans white navy beans, or cannellini
1 1/2 cups uncooked small tube, shell-shaped pasta, orzo, or your favorite small pasta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
4 sprigs fresh basil
Red pepper flakes
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Reduced Balsamic Syrup for drizzling (optional)
1. Heat a large stockpot over medium-heat.
2. Add the olive oil and heat until hot.
3. Quickly add the onion, and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion starts to caramelize.
4. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
5. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute; then add the water and stir.
6. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, zucchini, broccoli florets, cabbage, cauliflower, and salt.
7. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to release their juices.
8. Add the canned tomatoes and chicken stock.
9. Bring to a gentle boil.
10. Add the beans and stir.
11. Cover and gently simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.
12. In a blender, in batches, puree three-quarters of the soup until semi-smooth.
13. Pour back into the stockpot and stir well.
14. This will thicken your soup.
15. Adjust the seasoning (taste for salt; you will probably need to add more - 1/4 teaspoon at a time, so you don't over-salt).
17. Bring the soup back up to a gentle boil.
18. Add the pasta and stir well so the pasta doesn't stick.
19. Cook the pasta for about 5 minutes or until al dente.
20. You don't want to overcook the pasta.
21. Ladle into heated bowls.
22. Garnish with 2 tablespoons freshly grated cheese per serving, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes to taste.
23. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil and balsamic syrup over the top (optional).
Try more of Cristina's recipes here: www.cristinaferrarecooks.com.
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