Monday, September 2, 2013

Minestrone Soup or Stew - Fresh Veggies

This is the season of garden abundance and even my little plot offers us whatever it can. Too much rain and many of the tomatoes split. Rain meant that I couldn't pick the beans either (terrible for the plants to handle them when wet) so my rejuvenated beans produced more succulent beans than expected.  Corn is best fresh off the cob, but it will taste nearly as marvelous if cut off immediately upon cooking and cooled, tossed in a freezer bag and frozen for mid winter.  What to do with a kitchen counter covered in harvested veggies? Make minestrone! When you add the al dente pasta it will absorb a good bit of the soup broth, so if you want it to stay soupy, add a little more water, and if you want to eat it more like a stew, cook down the broth a bit.

Here's my impromptu version.

Garden Plenty Minestrone - makes 2 quarts

2-3 cups of 1" green bean pieces
1 medium yellow squash cut into slices
1 large onion, cut fine or slices
1 can chick peas (or red kidney beans) or fresh cooked
2 small stalks celery chopped (with leaves if you like 'em)
3 cups chopped chunks of ripe tomatoes
2 carrots cut into pieces
1/2-1 cup corn kernels
3-5 cloves smashed and chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon dry oregano (or more if fresh)
1/2-3/4 cup fresh basil leaves chopped roughly
1 tsp Bragg Liquid Amino
Springs of fresh parsley for garnish
4-6 cups water for soup
4 ounces firm tofu cut into small pieces (optional)
black pepper, grated fresh
dash of salt
1 cup brown rice pasta of your choice & water to cook it

1. Cut up the veggies into pieces you want to find in your soup -- though squash and tomatoes will soften and some of it will become broth.
2. Add all the veggies to a good sized pot, with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil, then turn it down and simmer with a lid on at such an angle that steam can escape.
3. In a separate pot, boil up 4-5 cups of water and add the 1 cup of brown rice pasta, cooking at a boil for about 5 or 6 minutes, drain in a colander and set aside.
4. When veggies are nearly all softened, remove the lid, add the tofu and either add liquid if needed to keep it soupy, or let the liquid cook down a bit. Turn the whole thing off, add the pasta and stir. Salting to taste and adding fresh ground pepper and a sprig of parsley.

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