The month of October is a favorite, with so many wonderful feast days and a return to soup weather, what’s not to love? This minestrone is a go-to for its adaptability, using whatever is available in your pantry and refrigerator. It’s easy to make it meatless for Fridays and other days of abstinence, as well.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 slices bacon, diced (optional)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2½ cups zucchini or peeled butternut squash, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 (26-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
- 6 to 8 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can navy, pinto or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 16 ounces fresh spinach, Swiss chard or kale leaves, chopped
- 2-3 cups cooked small pasta or quinoa
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon, if using, and cook over medium-low heat, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and herbs, excluding bay leaf, and cook over medium, until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of stock or water, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Discard the bay leaf. Add the greens and beans, heating through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, add more stock or water. Serve over pasta or quinoa with a sprinkle of Parmesan.