Hearty Minestrone with Rice Soup!
Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was wonderful to be together and enjoy such a fantastic meal!
The refrigerator is still full of leftovers. I open its door and eyeball that Pecan Pie.
Reaching for it I start to get really, really excited and then……”Snap out of it you sugar-crazed maniac!”, I yell aloud.
I needed something to bring me back to a healthier reality in a warm and hearty way.
I found it in this easy, yet satisfying soup that is full of veggies, pinto beans and only the slightest little touch of Parmesan cheese.
Soup in the cold weather is always welcomed. The colorful vegetables sizzling in the olive oil are fragrant and beautiful.
I can always find something wonderful in the Quick From Scratch Italian cookbook. This is one of my favorite books. It is full of hearty, rich and wonderful dishes that will warm your heart and soul. Just what we need as the days shorten and the weather cools.
You will find fish and meat dishes, pastas, soups, risottos and even desserts and suggested wine pairings.
Just one glance at my book and you will see that it is indeed well-used. It is a little embarrassing to show it so tattered and worn.
For the record, I have every intention of fixing it sometime before the next century.
This 1998 version is still available on Amazon with both new and used versions going for a tiny price. There is a newer version too, although I have no idea if the recipes are the same as the original.
I often make this Sicilian Meatball Soup (pictured above) recipe from the book and it is incredible! Follow the link for this yummy dinner-worthy dish.
The soup recipe uses a small amount of tomato paste and that means leftovers. Tomato paste makes dishes rich and delicious. One idea is to divide up the leftovers into tablespoons, put into sandwich baggies and then into one big freezer bag. You can pop one out of the freezer and upgrade your spaghetti sauce, meatloaf and more.
Be sure to make extra soup as it freezes well. Maybe you should take it out on December 26!
Hearty Minestrone with Rice Soup
Serves 4 per original recipe (we served 6 accompanied by my leftover homemade onion rolls)
¼ cup plus 4 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
2 carrots, cut in 1/4 inch slices
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 zucchini, cut in quarter lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/4 inch slices
¾ pound green cabbage shredded (about 1/4 of a head)
1½ quarts low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 15 ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ arborito rice (you may use white rice as well, please see my note below)
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Special note: I used browned rice par-cooked for 20 minutes then drained and added to the soup per instructions in number 2 below. Brown rice take much more time so I had to adjust the total cooking time accordingly.
1. In a large pot, heat the 1/4 cup oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the zucchini and cabbage. Cook another 6 – 8 minutes.
2. Add the broth, beans, rice, potatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme and salt to the pot. Simmer, partially covered, until the veggies and rice are just done, 10 – 15 minutes. Check the veggies at 10 minutes, you do not want them overdone. Stir in pepper.
3. Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of the Parmesan cheese and drizzle each bowl with a little of the remaining olive oil.
Warmest best wishes to all!