Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Today is a day of great productivity. I wrote about a thousand words of my current dissertation chapter, which had been stalled for a few weeks and now I'm writing a long overdue blog post. Let's hope I can keep this up in the future!

I have been sorely remiss in posting lately. I know this. I've been incredibly busy. And the post I've had in the works since the beginning of the month requires Jeff's input. Getting the two of us in a room together and unoccupied has been a mighty feat. You'll hear about another delicious dinner in Philly soon, I hope. Until then, I have some soup to tide you over.

I put it on this minestrone on the menu for earlier this week because I have a large pile of green beans in my freezer that needs to be used up. Freezing green beans sounded like a great plan last summer, but they're really only good for soup. The texture is soggy and unappealing for other sorts of dishes. For soup, though, they're perfect. I just didn't make enough of these soups this winter to use them up! (You may notice that the soup bowl pictured above is chock full of string beans - I overloaded this recipe with them in an effort to use my stash up. Don't worry - the amount included in the recipe below is more reasonable.)

It's really a shame I haven't been making more soups, because this minestrone is delicious. The addition of wine, honey and red wine vinegar to the broth adds fantastic depth. Beans and pasta make it hearty. The other vegetables are super-healthy. Add a salad and it's the perfect light dinner for a spring evening (just not the 85 degree evening on which I served it - next week I will look at the weather before I plan my menu!).

Adapted from the Rolling Prairie Cookbook.

2 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
5 c vegetable stock
1 c red wine
1 1/2 c diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c chopped green beans
2 c cooked kidney beans
4 oz small cooked pasta (we used whole wheat shells)

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots, celery and herbs. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add pepper, salt, vinegar, honey, stock, wine, tomatoes, and green beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Add beans and cooked pasta and heat through. Enjoy with crusty bread and a salad!

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