Quick and Easy Minestrone Soup is for the person who doesn’t want canned soup, but doesn’t have six hours either. This is the minestrone equivalent to this quick version of chicken noodle soup.
This may not be minestrone soup that my great grandmother made, but she would still be proud! Why? Because it’s still real food, made with fresh organic vegetables and San Marzano tomatoes. Most importantly, it’s tasty. No heavy sodium or canned food taste. Just fresh, healthy, and worthy of being showered with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.
One day, I vow to make Marcella Hazan’s minestrone soup, which is quite a commitment with a real crazy good meat broth, but in the meantime, this is my shortcut.
It all started when I found out that Martha Stewart had a recall on this pot I bought a few years ago. It failed. It burned and Macy’s had a recall, which by the way is still going on if you happen to have one of the pots. This week, Martha’s new cast iron pots was on sale for 60% off. Lucky me. I took the old pot back, got a new pot in this gorgeous Green Apple color and a few dollars in return.
The pot came with a recipe for a minestrone soup that looked like it could be prepared in about five minutes. I changed it up a bit, but it was my inspiration to break in the new pot. You can improvise this recipe too. Add in potatoes, or add in more of your favorite vegetables on hand. If you don’t like or have kale, use cabbage. I’m partial to kale in soups because they retain body.
I love cast iron pans, so much so, I created a category for it. This particular brand (no paid endorsement here) does the job, is attractive and affordable. I could and should write a whole post about why I own 9 cast iron pots and pans and it’s my preferred cookware. Most of them are ancient cast iron frying pans, but two are enameled cast iron dutch ovens that get used on a nearly daily basis. The main attraction for me has always been the even heat retention and ability to go into the oven.
I was able to make my soup, stick it in the oven at 200 degrees and go out to the park for with the boys for a few hours. We returned to this pot of soup as lunch, and when my husband returned from four days of traveling, it was dinner. This is how I manage to appear like I’m always in the kitchen with homemade food. I know the shortcuts. Of course, you can leave a soup in a crock pot, but you can’t make it all in the same pot. I sauteed the vegetables first to break into their flavor before adding the liquid and you can’t do that in a crock pot.
Whatever brand you are able to purchase, please remember to only cook on medium low (I don’t go past 4 out 10). My favorite aspect is that these go right into the oven for continued cooking, braising or warming. Today, it’s going to be short ribs as practice for a very special event.
If you live in the Nashville area, you don’t want to miss the premier of Relish Epicurea Supper Club on April 26. I am the guest chef/food blogger for the premier of this brand new supper club.
So tell me, do you cook with cast iron? And, do you have some shortcuts for soup so you don’t have to open a can?
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 celery stick, diced
- 1 whole onion, chopped
- 7 cups beef broth (I use organic Better than Bouillon Beef Base)
- 1 can San Marzano Italian Tomatoes
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- few sprigs fresh Italian parsley
- parmigiano reggiano cheese rind (optional)
- 2 cups freshly cut green beans
- 1 can white beans
- 1 bunch tuscan kale
- 2 cups macaroni (cooked separately)
- salt, pepper
- Garnish with more olive oil and parmigiano reggiano
- Heat oil in pan. Add garlic cloves whole. Remove before they brown.
- Add in onion, carrots, celery and cook until softened.
- Add in can of tomatoes with juice. Crush tomatoes with your hands as you pour in.
- Add in beef broth, sprig of rosemary and parsley and rind of parmigiano reggiano and beans. Cook for 30 minutes on low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Wash kale. Remove ribs, and chop to large bite size pieces.
- Add in green beans and kale.
- Cook for 30 more minutes. In meantime, cook pasta two minutes less than package directions. Remove parsley and rosemary. Add in.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.
- NOTE: Everything can be made ahead and placed into the oven to keep warm, but add pasta in at the end or it will soak up all the broth and get mushy.