When I was young my father always took us to the best Italian restaurants. One of my favorite dishes was hot Minestrone soup. The red beans and saute’d onions cooked in fresh tomatoes along with other vegetables and topped with grated Parmesan cheese … well, makes my mouth water just thinking of it. Here are the ingredients that you need to make a great Italian vegetable soup:
dried beans (my favorite are red beans)
olive oil for sauteing herbs and spices: garlic, onions, green and red pepper, celery, parsley, thyme, freshly ground black pepper and a little salt.
Vegetables like cooked potatoes, zucchini, cabbage and of course those fresh tomatoes I mentioned above.
You’ll need to soak and cook your favorite beans, using lots of water. You’ll saute your herbs and spices separately. Drain the beans after they have been cooked, leaving enough liquid for the vegetables to cook in and to have a soupy consistency, being careful not to dilute the flavor with too much water. Throw a huge spoonful of cooked macaroni in with the beans and veggies (one cup each vegetable) and add the herbs and spices. Simmer long enough to cook the vegetables. I suggest you let it cool then put it in the refrigerator overnight, it will be much tastier the next day. After reheating, don’t forget to add the Parmesan cheese on top unless you’re going Vegan. Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:
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