Sunday, February 13, 2011
Super Romantic Valentine's Minestrone
Okay, minestrone is not really particularly romantic. To tell you the truth, I kind of forgot about Valentine's Day this year. Well, as much as one can forget about it when every blog, TV show, magazine, and newspaper is mentioning it in some capacity. However, this year Valentine's Day was kind of like last year's Winter Olympics. I knew it was happening, I just failed to care.
(The Man of Science, by the way, did not forget OR fail to care! You'll see his divine, edible gift to me in this week's Wordless Wednesday post. Worth the wait. Seriously.)
However, I do like the idea of having a fancy meal for Valentine's Day, which coincides nicely with the Italian Dinner episode of Top Chef that I watched last week. I don't think I'd ever learned about the three courses of a traditional Italian meal (antipasti, pasta, meat) until I watched that episode. Carla Hall is one of my favourite chefs on the show this season, and I loved the look of the minestrone soup that she prepared for the challenge. So easily veganizeable. I couldn't wait to make my own.
The minestrone also provided me with a perfect oppourtunity to use the heirloom bean mix that I blogged about last week. These beans are really better than any others I've ever had, so I was happy to have them play a major role in this soup.
The other exciting element here is these new giant white bowls that I bought with a wedding gift card we got for Domus Housewares (which doesn't have a website for some reason). The bowls are perfect for almost anything: noodles, soup, quinoa-vegetable-tofu meals, kale chips. I find myself wanting to cook meals especially to showcase the bowls. There were only two of them in stock when I went to spend my gift card, but I will happily buy a few more when the inventory is replenished. I've never really had new dishes before. This is all very exciting.
8 medium sized roma tomatoes, skinned, roasted and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup white wine or vermouth
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried sage
1 tbsp dried basil
6 cups vegetable soup stock
2 cups cooked pasta (I used whole wheat macaroni)
3 cups cooked beans
salt and pepper to taste
In a 350 degree oven, roast the tomatoes. You can slice them in half and put the sliced sides down on a cookie sheet (I covered my cookie sheet with parchment paper). They should be in the oven for at least half an hour, forty minutes if you're extra patient.
In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil and then add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until vegetables are slightly tender, approximately ten minutes, stirring frequently.
Add garlic, white wine or vermouth, bay leaves, and other herbs. Let cook for an additional five minutes or until the wine has reduced.
Add the chopped tomatoes and soup stock. Cover the pot, turn the heat to medium low, and let simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
Add beans and pasta, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer for an additional five minutes.
Makes 4-6 servings.
This recipe makes quite a lot, so if you are not feeding an army, you may want to save some for another day. I had great success freezing two jars of it. This kind of soup is going to do better in the freezer than in the refrigerator, because the pasta won't suck up a ton of water and get all bloated and mushy if it's frozen. I did keep one portion in the fridge overnight, but I ate it for lunch the next day, so it didn't have time to get yucky.
Eat To The (Romantic) Beat: Jonathan Richman - Everyday Clothes