It was my mother-in-law’s birthday Saturday, and we headed out to her house to meet up with all the siblings, all the nieces, and all the nephews for a pizza dinner. Because my husband loves me so much, and it was date night, he took me to Woodman’s after we left his mom’s around 11 p.m. (have I mentioned that Woodman’s is open 24 hours?). Upon entry, we went right to the clearance section. They had a whole cart of dented cans and crushed boxes for ridiculous prices. A pound of Creamette bow ties for $.50! A pound of Creamette spaghetti for $.40! A pound of semolina pasta, imported from ITALY, for $.25. The pasta was fine, just the packaging was a little misshapen.
So Spaghetti Minestrone was a natural choice for another soup this week. I found it in that old issue of All You I was reading a couple of weeks ago (September 13, 2014).
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
12 green beans (about 2 1/2 oz.), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1 1/2 cups cooked spaghetti, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan, for garnish
1. Warm oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrot, onion and celery; cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Pour in broth, increase heat to high and bring to boil. Add both types of beans. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
2. Add cauliflower, spaghetti, zucchini and tomatoes. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add parsley; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with Parmesan.
This is a fast and easy recipe. I eliminated the green beans (really, 12 green beans?) and used the whole can of great northern white beans, drained, and the whole can of tomatoes, undrained. I am also too lazy to cook and chop spaghetti. I broke the spaghetti into three pieces per strand and threw it in the pot with the broth. I boiled it for 3 minutes before reducing the heat. It cooked just fine.
Verdict: This was a pretty typical minestrone. Looking at the photo, I think those green beans were in there for color. It was tasty, but not the best minestrone I’ve ever had. It wouldn’t hurt to spice it up with a little cayenne or maybe some paprika. If I was pressed for time and needed a quick soup, I might make this again, but there are other quick soups out there that I’d probably choose instead.