Quick Fall Minestrone

Fall Minetsrone Soup with Cheese Quesadillas

Hit the Road, Jack!  Yep, that’s us. We’re hitting the road, going on a little vacation, going south, going to visit family, going, going, almost gone.  But before I go, I need to clean out the refrigerator, use up all the bits of veggies that are in there.  So what I’m making is a minestrone soup.  This easy soup  is made up of fresh fall vegetables, some orzo and a can of beans, making it hearty and filling.  I plan to freeze what we don’t eat so we will have it waiting for us when we get back home.  I know that after a long day on the road we will be happy to have a warming, nourishing soup to  return to.

While I’m away, posts that I have already written will be published, but I will not be available to respond to your comments for a while.  I hope you enjoy reading what I’ve prepared for the next week or so.  When I get back I hope to have some new sights, foods, and dining experiences to tell you about.

QUICK FALL MINESTRONE  (alias, Clean- out -the- refrigerator- before -I -go -on- vacation soup)

YIELD:  8  servings

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

    My ingredients differ slightly from the recipe, because of what I had to use up.

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash ( I only had about half that amount so I added about 1 cup of cauliflower florettes)
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato
  • 1 cup cut-up green beans, about 1/4 pound
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrot ( I used fennel instead)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups chopped greens, such as kale, spinach, broccoli rabe
  • 1/2 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • grated fresh Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

1.  Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic, sauté  2 1/2 minutes or until tender.  Please excuse me,  I got so caught up in this step, I forgot to photograph it.  But I’m sure you know what sautéing onions and garlic look like. 🙂

Broth and seasonings added to the sautéed vegetables.

2.  Add the broth and the next 7 ingredients (broth through salt); bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes.

Greens added; in my version I used broccoli rabe.

3.  Add greens, orzo, and beans;  cook 7 – 10 minutes or until orzo is done and vegetables are tender.

Ready for the soup bowls.

4.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese to serve.

My version of Fall Minestrone served with Cheese Quesadillas

To go along with the soup I made Cheese Quesadillas:  6 – inch flour tortillas with Monterey Jack cheese in the middle, warmed in a skillet till cheese melted.

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Summer-strone-zpacho

A regional farmer’s market has opened nearby, and I couldn’t wait to go and browse all the stalls.  I just love looking at all the fresh produce, herbs, cheeses and baked goods.  My creative juices start to flow as I imagine what I could do with it all.   Everything was so tempting, that I had to exert great self-restraint, and therefore brought home mostly vegetables.

Using some of that bounty I put together this soup that bears some resemblance to Minestrone, except there are no beans, and instead of the usual ditalini I used Israeli couscous.  It is also a little like gazpacho except there are no peppers. It does contain cucumbers,  part of it gets pureed, and it can be enjoyed warm or cold.  Its a great summertime soup for a light lunch, or perhaps combined with a sandwich or salad for a light supper.  I’m not sure what to call it so let’s just say  —-  Summertime  Vegetable Soup.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup Israeli couscous
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Kirby cucumbers (3 med.size), peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • one 15 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 small jar basil or mixed herbs pesto

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the couscous until al dente, 8-10 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat.  Add the cucumbers and cook stirring occasionally.  As they soften and become translucent, add the chopped onion and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes.  Don’t let them become too browned.  Stir in the tomatoes, paprika and vegetable broth.

3.  Using an immersion blender,  regular blender or food processor,  puree this mixture.  You may need to work in batches.  Return to the pot and stir in the couscous and shredded zucchini.  For cold soup refrigerate at this point.

4.  To serve warm, return the soup mixture to the stove and reheat, so the new added ingredients become warmed through.

5.  Serve the soup drizzled with the herb pesto.****

 

P.S.  This soup tasted even better the next day after flavors had time to meld.

 

****Stay tuned this week for my recipes on making your own pesto(s).

Source:  a Carolyn Original