July 23, 2019

What’s Cooking?

By Cristina Clarimon-Alinder

Minestrone Soup

Soon spring vegetables will be in abundance both at the market and in my garden. In Vermont, we seem to go from a foot of snow to a surplus of peas, green leafy veggies, fiddleheads and ramps. Once the growing season has started, the possibilities grow exponentially, and you can introduce produce into practically every meal.

Sometimes, if the weather is really cooperating, I struggle to keep up with the garden bounty. One delicious way of putting all those fresh vegetables to good use is by making a tasty soup.

This version of the classic minestrone is fantastic with a slice of crusty bread and perhaps some Parmesan cheese grated on top.

1 clove garlic

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 can crushed tomatoes

½ yellow onion

2 celery stalks

1 large carrot

1 zucchini

1 kale leaf

½ can navy or cannellini beans

1/3 cup orzo

Genovese basil (as garnish)

Fresh sage or rosemary (optional)

2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth

On low heat, warm up the minced garlic in the olive oil. Add the onion and celery, both finely chopped, and cook for a couple of minutes on low heat. Add the crushed tomatoes. Cook together for another minute or two until the flavors blend.

Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and add the chicken broth. You also have a choice of using vegetable stock if you prefer. Homemade broth is easy to make, but a good store-bought brand (such as Imagine) works just fine. Add a pinch of fresh sage or rosemary to pump up the taste.

As the broth starts to boil, add the chopped carrots, zucchini and kale. Let the soup come to a low boil with a lid on the pot and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Finally, add the white beans of your choice. Add the orzo pasta and cook until al dente. At this point, the vegetables should be tender, but not mushy. Garnish with basil if desired. You can also go the traditional route and add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Cristina Clarimon-Alinder moved to Williston in 2016. She is originally from Madrid, Spain. She enjoys gardening, cooking and watching classic movies. For more of her writings, visit nectarnc.com.

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