So far, this winter has been mild.

No crushing snow storms, no blizzards to keep us home bound.

I don’t want to say that we’re in the clear yet, so, just in case………how about a nice hearty soup, full of veggies?

Just in case.

The colors in this soup are so pretty. it’s full of fresh chopped veggies.  It’s tasty and it’s hearty, and this recipe makes quite a bit.  Leftovers for days. After the SuperBowl, I had some leftover Johnnies Brisket.  I chopped up the brisket and tossed in the soup.  I must say that it was a genius idea.  Suddenly my Minestrone was Vegetable Beef.

 

Winter Minestrone

olive oil

4 ounces bacon, diced

1  1/2 cups chopped yellow onions

2 cups diced carrots (3 carrots)

2 cups diced celery (3 stalks)

2  1/2 cups yellow squash or zucchini

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

26 ounce can of diced tomatoes

6 to 8 cups chicken stock

1 bay leaf,  salt and ground black pepper

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups cooked small pasta

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

To cook the pasta, put 1 cup of pasta into a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook according to the directions on the package, drain, and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash/zucchini, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 table-spoon salt, and 1  1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, add more chicken stock.

Optional: Just before serving, add some fresh spinach,and toss like a salad. Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in 1/2 cup white wine and 2 Tablespoons pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste. Serve large shallow bowls of soup with a toasted bruschetta.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and serve hot.

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.penguinrandomhouse.ca.

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