Warm Winter Minestrone Soup

Warm Winter Minestrone Soup


It’s an especially cold day in the The City, and I am not in the “create a large meal” kind of mood.  As I have mentioned in the past, I really like soups.  The great thing about soup is that while there can be a fair amount of preparation, it mostly cooks and tends to itself.  And if you choose the right kind of soup, it can serve as the main course.  What better soup for a main on a cold night than Minestrone.

I am never in any kind of shortage of dried or canned goods in my pantry.  Pasta, lentils, check!  Onions, garlic, lemons and herbs are always hanging about as well. Canned tomatoes, beans, and chiles are also part of my regular stock.  So hitting the store on my way home is easy enough.  All I really need are some fresh herbs and kale. 

Part soup, part pasta dish, Minestrone is, at the very least, a meal you should be having twice a month during the winter.  Make a double batch and freeze leftovers the first time, you will only have to re-heat it the second.  Perfect for those night where you REALLY don’t want to cook.  Warm, toast bread, done and yum.  

Warm Winter Minestrone Soup


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced into half-moons
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 potato, cut into dice-size pieces
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dried black lentils
7-8 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup small pasta shapes, like shells or stars or whatever
5 cups shredded green cabbage or kale
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
Ground pepper to taste



*It’s important not to add the salt until the lentils have fully cooked. 
1. Grab a large soup pot and heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until the onion starts to look golden brown and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the potato, rosemary, garlic, pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Cook for another 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes and lentils and give it another 30 seconds.

2. Now, pour in all the broth and let it all come to a simmer. Reduce the heat and let that go at a gentle pace until the lentils are almost cooked but the potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Next, add the salt, pasta, and cabbage (if using kale, don’t add it yet) and keep the pot gently simmering until the pasta is cooked all the way, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your pasta. (If you are using kale, fold it into the pot after the pasta is all cooked and let that pot simmer for 2 more minutes.)

3. Add the vinegar and lemon juice, stir well, and remove from the heat. Fold in the parsley and basil and let the pot sit for a minute or two. Add salt or pepper to taste. Pull out the bay leaf and serve right away.



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