Sunday, August 24, 2008

Minestrone

I didn't take a picture of this. I'm way more interested in photographing the mutant cornichon P selected for me (I like mutant foods a lot) at the store today, but even that hasn't gotten me to get off my butt and figure out where I stuck the camera most recently. It's always somewhere. Just not somewhere I know about.

I think I recently mentioned that I was going to make some minestrone, because I wanted to use up the last of those frozen carrots I'm just not that big of a fan of. I also used up the frozen green beans that were just on the edge of burning in the freezer. So, they're not burned. Now they're boiled.

I don't know how to make small quantities of soup. I've (mostly) learned to make small quantities of other things, but soup? I jsut never seem able to pull that one off. This soup was supposed to just be a couple quarts. But it wound up filling an 8 quart deal. I felt lucky I didn't have to spill it over into one of the large dutch ovens. Eep. Anyway.. there's a lot of it, so I'll probably eat it all week or lunch (in addition to the remaining pork fried rice I made the other day, which I didn't post because it wasn't dissimilar enough from the bacon fried rice; except it had more veggies; to warrant a new post). Blah, blah, I'm rambling again, as per usual. Let's get to the food then. I hope you like it. It makes a lot. So the measurements of the broth are a little weird, btw. Because I don't normally measure how much liquid I use (as evidenced by the fact that I often forget to even mention liquid was used), but today I did. Just for you.

I swear on my life that even though this recipe is long-long-long-long-long, it's actually easy enough to make that you can be watching some tv and forget you're cooking and it still comes out yummy.

3 slices of salt pork, cut into 1/8-1/4" cubes (optional; I wanted to use a parm rind, but didn't have one)
1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to season throughout, as you see fit
1/2 white onion, cut into 1/4 moon slices
5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups sliced celery w/ leaves

1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
2-3 cups shredded savoy cabbage

1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups frozen or fresh carrot slices
2 cups frozen or fresh green beans, cut up
1 large russet potato, cut into little cubes
48 ounces broth of your choice (I had veggie broth I made; I'd planned to use the chicken I'd made, but it exploded in my face and I had to throw it out. It's a long story)
1 1/2 cup cooked great northern, cannelini (spelling?) or navy beans (1/2 cup dry I think I used)

2-3 cups broccoli flowerettes, cut into little bitty pieces (no larger than 1/2 inch around)
1 bunch spinach, cut up
2 cups torn or cut basil, in big pieces
1 cup parsley, cut roughly
38 ounces broth (more of that veggie I'd made, but you use what you made or bought)

1/2 pound ditalini (but not the brand listed here; I have a generic brand)
14 ounces broth (this, actually, was the beef I discovered; I seem to have a lot of broth in my fridge)

Put the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot (or dutch oven) and warm. Add the bits of salt pork (or not) and render down. Then add the onion, celery and garlic. Salt and pepper it if you like. If not, don't. Some stuff I salted/peppered, other stuff I kinda forgot about because I was busy elsewhere. Cook it until it's soft; 5-10 minutes (I use the timer, but mainly just to make sure I come back prior to a fire starting in the house). Then throw in the zucchini and cabbage. Again, let it chill in there until it's soft, another 5-15 minutes (I guess it depends on how small you cut the cabbage, huh?). Toss in the tomatoes, carrot, green beans, potato, other beans and first bit of broth. Let it cook at a strong simmer an hour or so, then add the broccoli group and give it another hour or whatever you like. Last, add in the pasta and last of the broth and cook it for 10-15 minutes, then eat. Serves around 12, I think.

If you're more of a morning person than I am, you could get it started before you go to work/school while you drink your morning coffee and leave it in a slow cooker or on really low heat all day (instead of putting it in steps, just toss it all together after the initial sweatings) and put the pasta in when you come home. But it makes a lot. Just sayin'.

School starts tomorrow. I am excited and nervous. Hence the rambling. I've been really annoying that way all day long.

Oh yeah; this cost about 8 dollars to make, all told. So it's also cheap since you get a lot of meals from it.

2 comments:

  1. Your recipe sounds SO delicious! Wow! I complete agree - making small quantities of soup is impossible. :-) I think it must be against the philosophy of soup-making. :-) I'm glad I'm not the only one who has difficulty making small, two-person quantities when cooking... :-) Good luck with the start of classes!!

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  2. It really IS impossible to make small quantities, isn't it? I envy those people who can do the small soup thing (or maybe they're just using canned soup? I don't know!), though I also feel sad for them because they don't have delicious leftovers to eat.

    I wound up freezing 5-7 containers (can't rmeember) after I ate it for lunch a few days. The only thing I don't like about it is that the pasta absorbs so much of the liquid. So I froze it in batches with only tiny amounts of liquid, and I'll just add some water when I heat it up. I guess that's still a good thing, though, since 1 container would only serve 1 person, but in its "condensed" form it'll actually serve two.

    Classes are going well, but I have to admit I'm bored out of my mind. I wish I'd taken 20 hours instead of 17!

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