A small bowl of hot soup is an excellent starter to any meal. You can also enjoy soup for lunch or dinner by adding a salad and fresh bread. This hearty recipe works great for all situations. Add a glass of crisp white wine and enjoy!
Minestrone (Vegetable) Soup
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup zucchini, unpeeled, scrubbed and diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup red potatoes, diced
⅓ cup celery, diced
5 strips bacon, diced
¼ cup onion, chopped
½ cup leeks (or substitute onions), chopped fine
2 cups drained diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock, homemade or canned
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup rice
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a heavy 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Add the beans and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Return the pan to the stove, and over low heat simmer the beans uncovered for 1-1½ hours, or until they are barely tender. Drain the beans and set aside.
Melt the butter over moderate heat in a heavy 10-to 12- inch skillet. When the foam subsides, add the peas, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Toss constantly with a wooden spoon to coat the vegetables. Cook 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
Fry the bacon in a heavy 6-to8-quart saucepan over moderate heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels, but retain the grease in the pot. Stir in the onion and leeks. Continue to stir until the vegetables are soft and lightly brown, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, vegetables from the skillet, chicken stock, bay leaf, parsley, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 25 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf. Add the rice, beans, and bacon. Cook 15 – 20 minutes longer.
½ tbsp. dried basil
½ tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic, chopped fine
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients into a small bowl. Stir well.
Ladle into individual bowls. Sprinkle with herb/garlic mixture. Pass a bowl of grated cheese.
Leftovers freeze well.
May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!
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