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.
- 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.