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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Minestrone Soup

I am not the biggest fan of minestrone soup, but I try to make a pot of soup on Sundays to have for lunch throughout the week and I like to switch it up.  I found this particular recipe from Giada that actually sounded delicious, and so, despite my aversion to minestrone soup, I went for it and I'm very glad I did.  It appealed to me because of the swiss chard, the rosemary, and the neat little idea of blending some of the beans with some of the broth first so as to thicken it up a little...genius.  It's really, really good.  I can't wait to eat it all week.  I opted to make it vegetarian by omitting the pancetta at the beginning (although I'm sure that would have made it even more delicious, so go for it if you'd like...a little bacon never hurt anyone.)  I also didn't have a parmesan rind, so I just sprinkled in some parmesan instead.  I once made a soup with a parmesan rind and I couldn't taste the addition at all.  Adding some of the actual cheese works better (in my opinion) to making it more flavorful.  So next time you're in the mood for minestrone soup, skip going to Olive Garden and make this at home - it's soooooo much better.

Minestrone Soup
slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the swiss chard and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and parmesan cheese to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard rosemary sprig (if you can find it!)

Serve with warm crusty bread and an extra sprinkle of cheese.

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