I have never had a hankering for minestrone. Ever. Until Monday, then, I needed to make Minestrone. Maybe because I was getting sick, I needed a nice hot and healthy soup. Whatever the reason I was in for a real treat. I dug in to my new cookbook (thanks Heather!!!) Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food” and discovered quite possibly the best soup I have EVER made.

Minestrone–BIG soup

1/4 cup of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced

1 clove garlic crushed and then chopped
2 tablespoons thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf

3 cups water
2 cups frozen green beans snapped to 1 inch lengths
1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can stewed tomatoes

3 cups cooked pasta, I used penne but any shape will do
1 can cannellini beans drained

leftover pasta water-you might need this to thin out the broth and this gives your soup a nice body

DIRECTIONS
in a heavy duty dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat and add the first 4 ingredients
cook slowly over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, this is the way to make soffritto which is a nice way to give your soup a long simmered taste and depth

before cooking the soffritto
the soffritto after 15 minutes
when the vegetables are cooked and very aromatic add the next 4 ingredients and gently cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often
then add the next 3 ingredients, bring to a boil reduce heat to simmer and simmer 15 minutes
add the next 2 ingredients and simmer 10 minutes longer
reduce heat to low a stir in the beans and pasta to warm through
taste and add salt and pepper to your liking

I served it with a hunk of parmesean cheese, a box grater and warmed bread.
My kids deemed it the best soup EVER. Now that is something.

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This is my entry for this weeks Souper Sunday over at Kahakai Kitchen Stop in and check out the awesome soup collection.