Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Almost as good as Olive Garden's
I love minestrone soup, particularly Olive Garden's. It might be more of a sentimental thing, bringing back memories of girl's afternoons out with my mom, eating the unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. However, it's not economical to go out every time I was nostalgic.
The canned versions of minestrone (and most soups, acutally) are far too salty for my taste. My family is also participating in a Healthy Living Challenge, so I've been on the hunt for some vegetable-rich, delicious recipes. I found this one on allrecipes.com, and adapted it slightly.
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chipped
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can green beans
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup seashell pasta
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese for topping
In a large stockpot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and saute garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1-2 minutes.
Add chicken broth and tomato sauce and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, the longer the better.
Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.
Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through, place 2 tbsp of cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with bread and salad, if desired.