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Soup in August? Yes, If It’s Fifty Degrees!

I have been remiss!  I have been back “Up North” to spend time with a favorite aunt and cousins, all of whom I rarely have an opportunity to see.  The time flew by, and I did no posting while there.  After this ungodly hot summer, the weather was actually quite cool, as in donning winter jams for sleeping and fires aglow in that ancient, brick fireplace.  The thermometer barely hit fifty by 8:00 AM.  It may seem a bit early for a hearty soup recipe, but that was just what was called for one very chilly evening.  I delved into my recipe files and chose one of my most requested hearty soups, minestrone.  The original recipe came from the Ovens of Brittany, a much beloved restaurant in Madison, WI, but sadly no longer there.  I have tweaked the recipe a bit over the years.  It has a yummy tomato base and is chock full of vegetables and tortellini.  I usually double or even triple the recipe to freeze for later.  We served it with a fresh green salad and a French baguette, crusty outside and chewy inside.  We added logs to the fire, set up the card table right in front of the fireplace, filled the wine glasses, and enjoyed a cozy supper together.  The soup received rave reviews, so as September approaches, put your favorite soup pot on to simmer with this recipe.

Sorry, but no photos.  Incandescent lights do no justice to photos of foods.  Next time I make it, I’ll be sure to take some when the light is good.

Minestrone

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 2/3 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 24 ounces V-8 juice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1  14 – 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of dark red kidney beans (15 ounces)
  • fresh or dried cheese tortellini
  • Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a soup pot or large skillet.  Add onion, carrots and celery.  Sauté 5 minutes.  Add zucchini, green  pepper, basil and parsley and sauté  5 more minutes.
  2. Add vegetable juice, broth, tomatoes, and kidney beans.  Either simmer slowly for an hour or put in a crock pot for 4 – 6 hours.  I recommend using V-8 juice rather than tomato juice.  It gives it a great depth of flavor.
  3. Cook the tortellini according to package directions.  The amount of tortellini is up to you, depending on if you like your soup to be mostly broth or almost like a stew.  Add the tortellini at the end and heat through.
  4. Serve with grated or shaved Parmesan.

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