Amianym Minnestrone 04-Mar-2013

From an online friend.

The first thing you need to do is cook some navy beans and kidney beans in a roughly equal ratio. You should get them mostly done, but still somewhat crunchy, as they’ll cook further in the soup. I do them for 15 minutes in my pressure cooker. Or, you can use canned beans.

Then, you need to chop as much red or yellow onion as you want. You also need to peel carrots, quarter them, and chop those. You can add celery too, but I usually skip it because I don’t use it up quickly. It also requires a good quantity of coarsely minced garlic; tonight I used a whole head.

Start frying the onion on low heat in a good quantity of oil. When it’s gone soft, add the carrots and celery. When the onion is starting to brown slightly at the edges, add the garlic.

To that, add:

  • Beans
  • 1 32-ounce can diced or stewed tomatoes
  • 8 cups stock or equivalent amount of water + bouillon (note: it’s best if you don’t go for straight chicken stock; something with a darker, browned flavor is nice. This could mean a bit of beef stock or vegetable stock; tonight I used a mix of cheap gross chicken bouillon granules and the dregs of a jar of vegetable Better than Bouillon.)

  • Rosemary
  • Bay leaves
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt

Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat, and cover (It should simmer gently.) Cook for, I dunno, 45 minutes? Or however long you think the carrots and the beans need. You can really let it go or rush through this stage and it’s not really deleterious to the result.

Add green beans. Fresh is nicest, I always use frozen, and canned is mushy. You can also add a zucchini if you’d like. That will need to cook for about 20 minutes; it’s best if the veggies stay a little bit crisp. Also add any combination of thyme, basil, and oregano. (Fresh herbs are awesome, of course.) Separately, boil salted water for pasta. I like medium shells. Leave the pasta chewy; it cooks more in the soup. You want to be more careful of your timing here; I feel like the veggies being crisp or not makes a big difference in the overall impression the finished soup makes. When your veggies and pasta are done, stop everything and add a good pile of black pepper. (Pepper gets bitter when it’s cooked.) Om nom nom.