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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Minestrone Soup

We need some warming up in Chicago after the last blizzard and subzero temperatures! This minestrone soup will do it! Plus it is a complete meal with vegetables, pasta and protein from red beans!

Did you know that you can use Parmesan rinds instead of throwing them away? I wondered for a long time what was the use of those Parmesan rinds that Whole Foods Market sells packed for $3 a box of 1/2 lb. Well, finally I found out you can make the best broth for Minestrone Soup, sauces for pasta, stews, etc... Next time, please save your Parmesan rinds in a Ziploc bag and freeze them until you have enough to make Parmesan broth! It will add so much flavor to all your dishes!


Serves 4

For the Parmesan Broth:

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 onion (quartered)
1 garlic head (cut in half)
2 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leave
1 bunch of parsley
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
1 lb Parmesan rinds
1 cup of white wine
3 quarts of water

For the Soup:

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks
3 celery ribs
3-4 carrots (if you have tricolor it will add more color to your soup)
1 bunch of green chard
1/2  cup of cooked red beans
1/2 cup of small size pasta

Start by making the Parmesan broth:  Heat a large pot and add olive oil, onion,  garlic, thyme, bay leave, parsley and black peppercorns. Sauté for 3 minutes until beginning to brown. Add white wine and cook for another minute, then add Parmesan rinds and water. Bring to a boil and cook covered at low heat for about 2 hours. Let cool and strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Continue making the soup: Chop your vegetables in small pieces. Heat a large pot and add olive oil, sauté leeks, celery, carrots and beans for a couple of minutes, then add 1 and 1/2 quarts of Parmesan broth, bring to a boil, cover and cook at low heat for 10 minutes. Add pasta and green chard and cook covered for another 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Add more Parmesan broth if you need to. Season with salt and pepper.

Eat right away before the pasta gets mushy!


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