Minestrone: Italian. a rich thick vegetable soup usually with dried beans and pasta (as macaroni or vermicelli).
I’ve never known what minestrone meant before, so I decided it was time to look it up. I have to say that definition is a bit anti-climactic.
This was my first time every attempting minestrone and I have to say I am super happy with the results! It’s also healthy which makes me happy because, at the risk of sounding like a cliche, it’s tough to eat healthy during the holidays. There is the temptation of candy, cookies donuts and other crap all year round at my office, but it’s even worse right now! This a good cold weather recipe when you need to take control of your diet again! I’m a fan.
- 8 cups of beef broth
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup of dry beans – I used pinto beans and I soaked them in hot water for an hour first
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 1 cup of uncooked pasta – I used penne noodles
- Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- Pepperoni slices, for garnish and zing!
What to do:
First of all, let’s talk about dried beans. I did a ton of research on the best way to soak/rinse them and everyone on the Internet disagrees with one another. I do not think it is necessary to soak them overnight because they are going to be cooking for 8-10 hours in the Crock Pot. I boiled mine for a few minutes uncovered and then took them off heat, covered them and let them soak for an hour. Then I drained the water out and they looked exactly the same. I rinsed them with lukewarm water once more and then decided that was good enough. No matter what method you choose, someone on the Internet will agree and disagree with you.
Use a large Crock Pot for this – I used my 6 quart one. If you only have a smaller one, you’ll need to half the recipe. The beans expand a lot, so you need some space. First pour the beef broth in. Then add the carrots, celery, Italian seasoning, onion, spinach and beans. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. It smells delightful. After 8-10 hours, add the pasta in. Turn the Crock Pot on high and cook for another 30-45 minutes. Once the pasta noodles are done, you are ready to feast! I sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top and added a few pepperoni slices to mine. I really love pepperoni and it added some zing to it.
Minestrone – mmmm good! This also makes a ton of leftovers and it is very easy to save and reheat. Yay for not having to cook much else this week!