There’s nothing like a rainy day to inspire you to make a pot of delicious soup! As the rain pitter pattered throughout the day, nourishing the the lush hills of Laurel Canyon, Jake and I hunkered down, breaking out art pads, colored pencils, water colors, paint brushes, board games, and Match Box toys (Jake’s favorite: an orange and white ’57 Chevy). Later in the afternoon, we made this wonderful soup together. I chopped the veggies and Jake added them to the pot, using all the strength a 4 year-old can muster to stir the soup, marveling at the honeyed aroma in kitchen, and taking pride in his culinary creation with Mommy. Going to Farmer’s Market, picking out organic vegetables, and playing around with ingredients in the kitchen are cherished moments for the both of us.
What I love about Minestrone soup is that it’s so rich, filling, and flavorful that meat eaters are never disappointed, and it’s a boon for kids that get finicky about eating veggies. The combination of pasta and creamy parmesan helps the wee ones forget about carrots, celery, and zucchini lurking in the soup (dicing vegetables so that they melt into the soup works a treat). Add a side salad, sliced crusty ciabatta, and you’re good to go for a quick and tasty meal.
Hearty Minestrone Soup
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, cubed
i medium potato, peeled and cubed
2 zucchini, cubed
1 can (15 oz) organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (28 oz) organic diced tomatoes
1 cup cooked whole grain tomato and spinach pasta shells, cooked to al dente
1 tsp dried parsley
1/ tsp dried rosemary
tsp dried sage
tsp dried thyme
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (save the cheese rind for cooking in the soup)
4 cups vegetable stock
Seas salt and freshly grated black pepper
1. In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic, and celery on medium heat for 3 minutes or until soft. Add the potato and dried herbs, cooking for another 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.
2. Put half the cannellini beans and 1/2 a cup of the vegetable stock in a blender, and pulse until smooth. Put the creamy bean mixture back into the soup. Add the rest of the stock, the Parmesan rind, and cheese (saving a tablespoon or two for topping the soup when serving). Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the rest of the cannellini beans, zucchini, and pasta shells, cooking for another 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve.