Furlough Minestrone

20131014-121017.jpg The soup theme continues as we march into the end of another furlough week. This time, swiss chard from the garden is used up, stems & all, in a delicious vegetarian soup. Paired with chickpeas, the sweetness of the chard intensifies. If you chop the chard leaves small enough, they wrap perfectly around fusilli noodles - perfect for (sometimes) finicky kindergarteners.


Gather whatever produce you have in the fridge & garden. Here's what I used:

- 8 cups of chicken or veg stock (or split that in half & use 4 cups of water & 4 cups of stock.) - canned tomatoes - 1 turnip, peeled & diced - 1 onion diced - 4 cloves of garlic, smashed & diced - 3 stalks of celery, diced - 2 carrots, sliced into rounds - 1 bunch of chard, remove stems from leaves. Chop both into bite sized pieces - 1 can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed - 2 tsp dried thyme - 1 bay leaf - olive oil to sauté veg - salt & pepper to taste - 1 box of whole wheat fusilli pasta, cooked to box directions & reserved separately. Don't forget to toss the cooked noodles in some olive oil...keeps them from sticking together - cheese to garnish: Asiago, Pecorino, or Parmigiana


In a large dutch oven, or stovetop safe slow cooker base, sauté all your raw veg in the olive oil (less the chard leaves & tomatoes.) After they soften up, season with salt & add tomatoes, chard leaves, stock, thyme, bay, & chickpeas. Bring to a boil & simmer on the stovetop for 30-60 mins, or in the slow cooker on low for an hour or so...then switch to warm until service. Ladle the soup over fusilli noodles & garnish with cheese (I add hot pepper flakes) and garlic bread.

Enjoy & fingers crossed for an end to the shut down!!