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Recipe: Minestrone


This flavorful Italian soup is both hearty and healthy… what could be better? Minestrone recipes are all pretty similar… lots of veggies… sometimes with meat added… you can use vegetable stock or a meat (chicken or beef) stock or broth as a base…. a soup for everyone…

This soup cooks up in a jiffy.. so it’s definitely a weeknight meal… we made a meal out of it with some fresh bread.

TIPS

I used beef broth as a base… I found chicken broth to be too bland… but either will work.

I used frozen cut string beans and chopped spinach… you can use fresh… if you use fresh string beans, then add them when you add the beans so they cook well enough by serving time.

I used baby carrots that I sliced… they just look better in the soup.

I used a “quick’ cooking dried pasta from Ronzoni … they have long thin elbows that cook in 3 minutes… it worked perfectly with this soup.

This soup recipe makes about 8 servings.. there really isn’t a good way to cut it back… since you are using full cans of beans… unless you use a half can of each type of beans.. and save the remaining beans for another use.

I used red wine… a Cabernet Sauvignon .. this is an optional ingredient.. but in my opinion adds a lot to the soup.. it gives it a full bodied flavor…

Hearty and Healthy!






Recipe: Minestrone

All you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 small zucchini, peeled and chopped
1 cup cut green beans
1 cup baby carrots, sliced
5 cups beef broth
2 cans (14.5 oz)Hunts Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (the Hunts Tomato can) water
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup frozen spinach
½ cup red wine (optional)
2 cups dried pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese (to serve with the soup)

All you need to do:

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.

Add the onions, garlic, carrots and zucchini and cook, stirring frequently until onions are soft and translucent.

Add the beef broth, canned tomatoes, kidney beans, cannellini beans, water and spices. (Also add the green beans if using fresh green beans..if using frozen green beans add them later… see below)

Bring to a boil then reduce the heat.

Add the red wine and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the frozen green beans and spinach and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is cooked (use the cooking time on the pasta box).

3 comments:

AnyEdge March 9, 2011 at 10:29 AM  

Linda,

In general, how long do you have to cook wine for the alcohol to be gone?

AnyEdge

Linda March 9, 2011 at 1:59 PM  

Hi Any Edge...

That is a good question... I always had been taught that since alcohol has a lower boiling point than water.. as long as you boil it the alcohol cooks off... I know this question is important to many folks so I wanted to see if there was an expert source for the answer.. unfortunately... opinions vary

The food network says there will always be residual alcohol even minute... most sources say it can be cooked off and recommend long cooking times and bringing it to a boil..I think it's important to note how much is added and just how "big the pot is"...

My best answer is... if the reason for the question is like versus dislike in taste ... say wine or beer added to a meal... the boiling and cooking time answer would be best... bring it to a boil and cook it long time... hour or two should be sufficient as with a stew or shepherd's pie... again assuming not much is added... say 1/2 cup.. then I would say it would be safe to say the alcohol content would be neglible.

If the reason is the avoidance of alcohol... again that is a personal reason... and depending on how much the person wants to avoid all alcohol.. if complete avoidance is desired.. I would omit it from a recipe... why risk a craving?... foods can taste wonderful without it as well...

One final note on the alcohol question...many "foods or medicines' we do ingest have alcohol and it's important to remember that.. so if the quantity added to a recipe is small... I would say its safe... an example of what I'm talking about is vanilla extract for example... used in recipes with quantities of a teaspoon or so... do I think the foods contain alcohol after cooking?.. I would say no..

With this recipe.. I highly recommend you use beef broth or bold stock as the base... it's robust flavor will more than make up for the lack of wine if you want to leave the wine out.

.
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