Minestrone for a Crowd

Because I love soup, I gift you this minestrone recipe. A little knowledge from my Trapper Keeper…Hundreds of years ago, Italians would use whatever leftovers were in the kitchen to make this family soup. It quickly became a staple, and found a way to travel to the grand ole USofA. The first time that the don and I made it together was this past summer at the historic Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI. We spent a lot of time in their culinary center with this darling chef pictured below. When the weather snapped cool at home this past autumn, I started making it from items available in my fridge, freezer, and pantry. And I continued to create random concoctions throughout the winter and now into the spring season. The recipe that follows is really just a guide line; you do you, and make it your own! Ahhh…the sound of slurping soup.

3 Tbs olive oil
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
13 oz frozen tiny green peas
13 oz bag frozen black eyed peas
8 oz fresh haricot vert, cut into thirds
1 Tbs minced garlic
8 cups vegetable broth
6 cups hot water
15 oz tomato sauce
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup ditalini pasta
2 Tbs sugar
3 bay leaves
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 t dried basil
1 t dried thyme
1 1/2 t salt
1 t ground black pepper
3 cups baby spinach
Grated Parmesan cheese

Above right photo shows the minestrone with Puff Pastry Croutons!

In large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.
Add onion and celery; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add garlic: cook 1 minute.
Add broth, hot water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, green peas, black eyed peas, haricot vert, pasta, sugar, bay leaves, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 20 minutes, storing often.
Stir in spinach; cook 2 to 3 minutes, until spinach wilts.
Top with grated cheese to serve.

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