February 20, 2005

It's soup

Before Victor moved in, I wasn't big on soup. I pretty much only ate it if I was sick. Two of his soups changed my mind, a cream of broccoli with cheese and this minestrone:

Victor's Minestrone

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Mix ingredients and form meatballs. Bake on a broiler pan (to let grease drain off) until cooked.

1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
4 cans (14 1/2 oz each) beef broth
1 lb. can crushed tomatoes (drain)
1 lb. can kidney beans (drain)
1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
Olive oil

In a large pot, saute onion, celery, carrot, oregano, and basil in olive oil. Add beef broth, tomatoes, and beans; simmer for about an hour. Add macaroni. Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese if desired.

UPDATE to add: Doh! The meatballs. Put them in with the macaroni. You don't want to miss the meatballs; in fact, they are good by themselves, and they're a good way to sneak some spinach by vegetable-hating picky eaters.

As you can see, this is a good hearty soup. And it has pretty much been the basis for the soups I've made...lots of vegetables, beans, and pasta. As I've switched over from eating meat, I frequently make a vegetarian version. When I'm really busy, I cut every corner and dump everything in the Crock Pot:

A bag or two of frozen mixed vegetables
A big can of tomatoes with juice
A can or two of beans (usually red kidney and garbanzo)
Vegetable broth (preferrably the roasted vegetable, which has more flavor)
Several shakes of Italian or pizza seasoning (it came with the spice rack; might as well use it!)

About half and hour before eating, add

Soy crumbles or Trader Joe's meatless meatballs, if I have them (if I'm going to use fake meat I'll only use one can of beans)
Dried pasta (elbow macaroni, penne, farfalle, the little wagon-wheelish-looking ones)

Tonight I gave it a Mexican rather than Italian slant, using salsa instead of canned tomato, pinto instead of kidney beans, and roasted corn. I also left out the pasta. According to Victor, without the pasta it isn't minestrone. A quick Google search did not confirm this: one source (I failed to bookmark, so no citations) said that minestrone never contains meat, another said it contains vegetables and pasta or beans or rice. Another said that minestrone is synonymous with "a mix of things." Whatever...it's soup.

Posted by Nic at February 20, 2005 06:49 PM

Sweetie, I just realized you never mentioned when to put the meatballs in the soup--and I also missed it when proofreading it. The meatballs should be added w/ the macaroni.

Posted by: Victor at February 24, 2005 12:45 PM
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