Saturday, March 15, 2014

Powerhouse Minestrone

Some of Cooking Light's best features have been their soups--at least our family thinks so--and I mean Jon and myself--have loved the recipes: Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup and Loaded Baked Potato Soup.  Both were featured in 2013 since those are two of the favorites.

Winter is the perfect time to try some of the more hearty versions of stews, soups, and chowders, and include root vegetables like parsnip, rutabagas, turnips in place of our standard varieties of potatoes and carrots. Try some of the squashes like acorn or butternut. This recipe does a great job of mixing things up and includes both traditional and alternative options.

This recipe is ideal for you as a college student with or without roommates, on a budget, or having friends drop by.  It makes enough for leftovers and friends, is super-easy, and doesn't require much skill, money, or time.  And, there is nothing like having a piping hot bowl of soup waiting for you when you're coming in from the cold. 

(Adapted from Cooking Light's 'Feed 4 For Less Than $10' article section. This recipe originally featured 1/2 cup cannellini beans, but I chose to add an extra 1/4 cup pasta).

Check it out!

Large 5-quart saucepan or Dutch Oven with lid

5 slices bacon, chopped

2/3 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 parsnip, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, diced / cubed
4 tsps tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced

2 2/3 cups chicken broth
1/4-1/2 cup uncooked ditalini or orzo, small pasta
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Wash your hands.
2. Prep all of your vegetables and set aside.

3. Peel, halve, and dice your butternut squash.  You will probably only need half of the squash.

Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

4. Chop your bacon and sear in the large saucepan.  

5. Once bacon bits are browned, leave the drippings in the pan and remove the bacon.

6. Add all of the vegetables, spices and garlic to the hot bacon drippings.  Saute for 8 minutes.

7. Add the chicken broth, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits.

8. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to SIMMER x 15 minutes.

9. Stir in the uncooked pasta and cook x 10 minutes.  

10. Season to taste and cook for another 2-3 minutes until vegetables and pasta are tender.

11. Serve this up with toast, crusty bread, cheese sandwiches, parmesan sprinkles and/or salad.

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