Stars in my Minestrone

20130218-190942.jpg A cold has been running amuck in my house since last week, and I am over it! Since I can't take any cold meds with the bun in the oven, I figured soup is the best alternative. I dug into my pantry, fridge & freezer and found lots of nutritious goodies to warm & sooth this family of snotty noses. Here's how I did it:

Ingredients: - 8 cups of homemade chicken stock/veg stock, or a good one from the super market - 1 cup of chopped carrots - 3 ribs of celery, chopped - 1 bunch of chard, washed & chopped (remember to remove the stems from the leaves, but don't discard, chop the stems like celery and cook them up with the other veg in your soffritto. - 28 oz of chopped tomatoes, I had two containers in the freezer that worked perfectly - 2 bell peppers, diced - 1 onion, diced - 2 shallots, diced (I was in an onion mood) - 2 cans of garbonzo beans, drained & rinsed - pastina stars, I cook up 1 cup per dinner so they don't get soggy sitting in the leftover soup in the fridge - olive oil - salt & pepper to taste (I also added a healthy sprinkle of red pepper flakes to my bowl)


Method: - in a large dutch oven warm a few tbsp of olive oil & toss in all of the veg EXCEPT the chard leaves & tomatoes. - cook over medium high heat until veg becomes translucent & starts to soften (8-10 mins). Season with salt & pepper. - add tomatoes, chard & stock, bring to a simmer & reduce to low. Add beans & cover. Cook on low until its time to serve. - cook your 1 cup of pasta according to the instructions, then distribute between bowls. Ladle soup into bowls & dig in!


We enjoyed this soup almost every night last week, and I'm making it again this week. If you're meat-inclined, add some diced or shredded chicken. The beans were enough for us, though we did serve some extra garlicky bread on the side. Nose clearing was the name of the game!


What are you stirring into your soup these last few weeks of winter? Any special pastas or veg?