Red, White and Bean Minestrone

Woke up this morning to at least a foot of snow!  That means it’s time for soup and this is a good, hearty one!  Found this recipe on Food.com.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup Italian turkey sausage, cut into small pieces (couldn’t find any Italian sausage so just got plain turkey sausage and I used the whole package so more than a cup)

2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used the whole can of tomato paste)

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery (about 3 big stalks)

2 tablespoons minced garlic (I pressed about 3 cloves of fresh garlic into the pan)

1 cup chopped carrots (about 2 big ones)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes with liquid

5 cups chicken stock (I ended up using 4 cans of chicken broth)

1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans with liquid

1 (16 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups zucchini, cut into 1/2″ pieces (about 2 medium)

2 cups baby spinach (sometimes I include the spinach and sometimes I leave it out, this time I left it out)

1 cup cooked bowtie pasta (I used elbows)

2 tablespoons pre-packaged pesto (left this out)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (forgot to put this on top)

Heat olive oil over medium heat, add sausage and brown well.  Add tomato paste, cook 5 minutes until brown.  Add onions, celery, garlic, carrots and oregano and cook until garlic is aromatic, about 5 minutes.  Pour into crock pot, add tomatoes and stock.  Cook on low 6 – 7 hours or until vegetables are tender.  Stir in beans, zucchini, spinach and cooked pasta.  Cook on high for 8 minutes or until beans and pasta are warmed through and spinach is wilted.  Top soup with pesto and cheese.

(A note from me – I added the beans and zucchini along with the tomatoes and stock instead of later and then I added the pasta, uncooked, the last 30 minutes of cooking time, turning the temperature up to high.)

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