Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Minestrone & Garlic Bruschetta

It has been quite cold around here lately (more like I'm cold down too my bones freezing).  Every day for the past week, I've looked forward to lunch because I've had a big bowl of this soup and I'm still not sick of it!  (I've just about finished it off and I may need to make more because warmer temps. are not in the forecast.)

Winter Minestrone and Garlic Bruschetta

Olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced carrots
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced celery
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) peeled and diced potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked orzo
8 to 10-ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons pesto
Garlic Bruschetta (recipe follows)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

To cook the orzo pasta, put 1 cup of orzo into a large pot of salted boiling water.  Cook until al dente, drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven.  Add onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add the crushed tomatoes, 6 cups of chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 1 /2 teaspoons pepper to the pot.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf.  Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through.  Just before serving, add the spinach and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad).  Cook until the leaves are wilted.  Stir in the pesto.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Serve with garlic bruschetta and a good sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Garlic Bruschetta

1 baguette or a loaf of good crusty bread
Olive oil
1 garlic clove, cut in half lengthwise

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Slice the baguette at a 45-degree angle in 1/2 inch-thick slices.  Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and bake for 6 minutes, until lightly toasted.  Take the slices out of the oven and rub the surface of each one with the cut clove of garlic.

*I like to tear of piece of the Bruschetta and let it sit in the soup for just a bit to let the bread soak up some of the broth and then I eat the bread with a bite of soup.  Yum!

*When I reheat the soup for lunch, I add a little water to thin the soup down a bitThe soup may need to be reseasoned.

Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten 


  1. Oh my goodness that looks amazing! Will definitely have to try out this recipe over the weekend.