Am glad I took the evening off , a good nite sleep and with my favorite (read huge) cup of coffee am back with renewed enthusiasm and fresh ideas threatening to overflow. I will still welcome hugs, so don't hold yourself back:)) hope you are all having a great weekend.
Jamie is very passionate about his minestrone and recommends 'soffritto' meaning slowly frying vegetables to give a strong intense flavor base. For the broth he recommends a bollito misto (mixed boiled meats) he also recommends a light chicken broth or ham (though it is very British, but popular in Tuscany too) but... since am a vegetarian my only option was vegetable soup and loved the intense flavors.
7 oz. cannellini or borlotti beans, if dried soaked overnight. (I used kidney bean)
1 bay leaf
1 tomato, squashed
1 small potato, peeled
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
1/2 head of fennel, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
basil small bunch leaves and stem separated
2 14 oz can of plum tomatoes
2 small zucchini, quartered and sliced
a glass of red wine
1/2 lb. swiss chard or spinach, washed and roughly chopped
2 cups of vegetable stock
2 oz. dried pasta
extra virgin olive oil
block of parmesan cheese to serve
crushed red pepper (optional)
While the beans are being cook, make the soffrito. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add onions, carrots, celery, fennel, garlic and finely sliced basil stems. Sweat slowly over low flame, with the lid ajar for 15-20 min until soft, not brown. Add tomatoes, zucchini, and red wine, simmer for 15 min.
Add chard or spinach, stock and beans. Put the dried into the soup, stir and simmer till the pasta is cooked.
If the soup is thick add more stock or reserved cooking water. Season with salt and pepper, I got tempted and had to add crushed red pepper ( u know my thing for spice ;)) Serve hot with torn basil leaves, a dash of olive oil and some freshly grated parmesan. Enjoy with your favorite bread. While you enjoy this soup, I need to head back to get my kitchen in order, there seems to be props everywhere.