Saturday, September 29, 2012

Minestrone Soup

I have a friend named Bianca who I am so lucky to have in my life.  I met her when we moved here in 2010 and we are so happy that both of our families adore each as well.  Her oldest and my middle and her middle and my youngest are BFF's.  Her baby and my oldest are inseparable.  Our husbands have a great time together when we have "family play dates" and enjoy making fun of Bianca and I every chance they get.  Basically B is my person.  You have one of those right?  I hope so.
So last winter (I can't believe it was last winter already!) we were having a family play date complete with dinner, dessert, popcorn and a movie...let's not forget pajamas for everyone and cocktails for the grown ups.  My husband thought I was out of my mind when we all had to get into jammies before they arrived, but thankfully he humors me 9 times out of 10.  He's very serious and conservative (much like me right?  HA!) so when I said he had to get in his lounge pants he pushed back for a second.  Thank god Bianca's husband, Keith, came in his too!  LMAO!
B was bringing her minestrone soup and amazing rolls.  I forgot what I had made because the soup was so outstanding.  No joke.  Part of her secret was making it the day before.  Genius.
I ended up getting the recipe the next day but hadn't made it again until just last week, and made it again today.  I'm still not sure what the hell happened but I can assure you I will be making up for lost time.  Now that we are coming into cooler weather, soups are the first thing I am thinking when meal planning.
What I love about this soup is that I can make it on the stove or in the crock pot, I will explain to you how to make it both ways.  You can also freeze the leftovers (since it does make a ton!) and it's even better at a later date...dare I say!  The most time consuming part is chopping, and even then it's not that big of a deal, but turn on some good music and pour a glass of wine, grab a cutting board and knife and get to it!

Here's What You Need
  • ½ Large Onion, chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 4 Zucchini, quartered and chopped
  • 2 Yellow Squash, quartered and chopped
  • 4-5 Celery Hearts (with tops, even better!), chopped
  • 2 large Russet Potatoes (skin on), small cube
  • ¼-½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 cans Tomato Paste
  • Vegetable Bouillon, 4 cubes or equivalent
  • 12 cups Water
  • 2 cups Cannelini Beans (or 1 can, rinsed)
  • 2 cups Red Kidney Beans (or 1 can, rinsed)
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Basil
  • Immersion blender, regular blender or food processor
At the end add in:
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh Basil
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar

Stove Top Version:
I take the onion, garlic, zucchini and squash and throw them on a baking sheet with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them at 400℉ for 30 minutes or until they are to your liking.  Make sure you move things around at the halfway mark so nothing gets too done.
Chopped goodness!

While the veggies are getting delicious you can add everything else to a large stock pot and get things started.  Trust me...get a LARGE pot, it makes a ton!  Once the roasted vegetables are done just add them into your pot of goodness and once it comes to a boil, turn the fire down to simmer and let it go for 20-30 minutes or until your potatoes are done.
Clearly I just made it with this pot!  

Now I want you to take 4 cups of the vegetables and beans out of the pot and put them aside, try and get as little of the liquid as possible.  You heard me, just do it.  At this point bust out your immersion blender, regular blender or food processor and blend the hell out of the remainder of the soup.  Add in your fresh herbs and sugar and blend once more.  I'm going to ask you to trust me again on the sugar thing, I thought Bianca was nuts when I read her recipe but it really does add the perfect touch.  Once you are done blending happily away, add in the veggie goodness that you had set aside.  Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper...much more than you think!

Crock Pot Version:
It's the same process as the stove top version except you add to a crock pot instead of a stock pot!  8 hours on low.  Wicked hard huh?  ☺

I serve this with a salad and/or some sort of bread.  B makes these rolls that are insane and may be one day she will let me share them with you but for now they are a guarded secret.  Today I had an amazing multi-grain artisan loaf that I cut thick and grilled with olive oil.  We were dunking it right in that soup and loving it!  This recipe was perfect for the cold and rainy day we had today.
Thanks again B for sharing your delicious recipe with me!  ❤
Bon's time to eat!


  1. Your welcome! So smiley I made a full fridge blog :)

  2. I never think to make soup in a crockpost. I use a pot like you do. This soup looks great and I think I'll make this and change it up by adding some leftover turkey. :)