Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Soup -- with Recipe!

Once the weather starts cooling off, I make a pot of soup just about once a week.  It's usually something hearty that can be eaten as a main course, and I eat it for lunch or dinner for a few days until either I get sick of it or I run out of it.  If I get tired of it (or for whatever reason, the soup is a few days old and I still have some left) I freeze the remainder in individual portions. 

Your mileage may vary depending on the size of your family and whether or not you like leftovers.  But remember: soup is always better the second day.

Tuscan-Inspired Soup 
(This is a vegetarian version, but you can brown 1/2 lb. of ground beef after the first step.  Drain off any excess fat and then continue.)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced (or more to taste)
1 large or 2 small zucchini, diced
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1 15.5-oz can canellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
5 C. vegetable broth (or chicken broth, or a combination of broth and water)
1/2 C. dry elbow macaroni, ditalini, or other small pasta (or 1 C. leftover cooked pasta)

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  When oil is hot, add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until the onions are clear, about 5-7 minutes.
2. Add garlic and saute for a minute more.
3. Add zucchini, diced tomatoes, beans, broth (or broth and water combination), and Italian seasoning.  Stir. Add salt and pepper (I use about a teaspoon of salt; use more or less to taste).
4. Raise heat to bring soup to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Simmer approx. 30 minutes or until vegetables are cooked, stirring occasionally.  Add broth/water as needed to maintain good soup consistency.
5. Meanwhile, cook dry pasta in a separate pot according to package directions.  Drain.
6. When vegetables are done, add pasta, stir, and heat through, about 1 minute.
7.  Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve, garnished with a little grated parmesan cheese if you like.

* If the pasta soaks up a lot of liquid overnight, add another cup of broth and heat through.  Alternatively, you could keep the pasta separate and add it to individual portions as you go.

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