- 1 lg. leek, thinly sliced* (I have substituted a large diced onion when I couldn't get to the store, but the leeks really are better!)
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
- 4 oz. fresh green beans, ends trimmed & halved
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 3 tbs. olive oil
- 6 c. vegetable stock (sometimes I use chicken stock)
- 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes (I recently made it with fresh diced tomatoes and it was amazing!)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbs. fresh basil, snipped (or 1 tsp. dried)
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
- 14 oz. can cannellini beans
- 1/2 c. small pasta - any shape
- fresh parmesan for garnish
- fresh parsley for garnish
Put all the fresh vegetables in a large saucepan with the olive oil. Heat until sizzling, then cover. Lower the heat and sweat the vegetables for 15 min., shaking the pot occasionally. Add the stock, tomatoes, & herbs. Bring to a boil, replace lid & simmer for 30 min. Add the beans + liquid with the pasta & simmer another 10 min. Check the seasoning and serve hot. Garnish if you wish - the fresh parmesan is divine!
Notes: Cannellini beans are white Italian kidney beans. If you can't find them, you can use regular kidney beans or pintos. I like to save my fresh parmesan cheese rinds in a ziploc bag in the freezer and I toss them in with the stock when I make this soup. This soup freezes exceptionally well, so I always try to keep some in serving size containers on hand in the freezer to pull out whenever I need it. Tastes great with a crusty Italian bread!
*Leeks are very sandy, dirty vegetables. It takes a bit of work to clean them, but their flavor is unparalleled! To clean them, cut off a bit of the root end and a bit off the green end that is wilted or tough. Cut down the middle lengthwise and separate out the layers. Rinse well in running water to get all of the sand out.
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SPLIT PEA SOUP
Great budget stretching recipe that is tasty and filling! This freezes very well, so I'd advise making the full recipe, though it is easily halved. (This version is the best I've tried and is from The Barefoot Contessa.)
2 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbs. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
4 c. medium diced carrots (6-8)
2 c. medium diced red potatoes, unpeeled (6 small)
2 lbs. dried split green peas
16 c. chicken stock or water
In a large stockpot, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the oregano, salt and pepper, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, 10-15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, stock, and 1 1/2 lbs. of split peas. Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes or until the peas are soft. Stir frequently for the last half hour to prevent burning the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with some diced ham if you like, though it really isn't necessary. We like this with good crusty bread.
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PASTA FAGIOLI - think Italian chili!
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1 onion, diced
1 large carrot, grated
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans of beans with their liquid or homemade equivalent. I prefer cannelinis.
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can V-8 juice
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 lb ditalini pasta
Mix all ingredients except the pasta in the crock pot and simmer on low all day. Before serving, boil the pasta al dente according to pkg. directions and add cooked pasta to the soup. If you intend to freeze this, the pasta would have a better texture if you cook it fresh. Delicious with crusty garlic bread!