Recipe: Minestrone Soup

Here is a recipe for soup that always makes for a balanced meal. Just right for the diet and the coming cool nights, adapted from a “Dining” publication:

Meaty Minestrone Soup

For the soup:

  • 1 lb ground beef or pork from JVF
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 bushy sprigs thyme
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash (or half of each for color), diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 pound fresh shell beans, shelled (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 plum tomatoes (about 3/4 pound), diced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green beans

For the pistou:

  • 4 cups fresh basil, packed
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a large pot over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the beef or pork and sauté until cooked. Remove the meat and set aside. Tie rosemary, thyme and parsley in a bundle with kitchen string if desired (this makes it easier to fish out later). Add the herbs, leeks, garlic, zucchini or yellow squash, carrot, salt and pepper to the pot and sauté until the vegetables are golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add broth, shell beans, tomatoes, green beans and 4 cups water to the pot. Simmer partly covered until the beans are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Discard herbs, add the meat back into the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes. Thin with a little water if the soup is too thick.
  3. Prepare the pistou: Pulse the basil, almonds, tomato, Parmesan, garlic and salt in a food processor until basil is chopped and all the ingredients are combined. Drizzle in olive oil while the motor runs and continue processing until a paste forms. Serve the soup with dollops of the pistou, letting people add more as needed.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

JVF