Minestrone has always been one of my favorite soups, but when I did an online search for recipes I found so many variations it made my head spin. Suffice to say minestrone is one of those dishes intended for using up leftovers, and for that it works quite nicely. I can clean out my fridge and create a tasty dish at the same time. Best of all, it’s never the same twice.
As I created my own version of minestrone I noticed I used a few ingredients consistently. The rest was whatever I happened to have on hand, which is why I’m leaving plenty of leeway on my ingredients list.
By the way, Rosie, of the Rosie’s Riveting Recipes historic cookbook, would have approved. She never let leftovers go to waste.
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (optional)
- 1 cup sliced celery (optional)
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (optional)
- 1 or 2 carrots, sliced (optional)
- 1 small (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 2 cups chicken broth or water
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- Other leftover vegetables, such as corn, lima beans, chopped zucchini or cubed potatoes
- 3/4 cup small pasta, such as stars, small shells, or mini farfalle
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 package of spinach, fresh, frozen or canned
Heat oil and butter, if desired, in a stock pot and saute the onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrots or celery. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add tomato sauce and broth or water. Stir well. Add any remaining vegetables, garbanzo beans, seasonings and pasta. Heat to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for twenty minutes. Add spinach and simmer for another minute or two. Serve with bread, rolls or corn muffins.