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Minestrone



It’s spring! The sun is out, the grass is peaking through the mud, and more days are warm than cold. I am wearing layers so I can shed them when warm and don them when cold. I need to eat something fresh but also something warm. I want minestrone!

Use your favorite seasonal veggies in this; I can suggest the peas, green beans, spinach and butternut squash as listed below  but also potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini and kale. Use whatever vegetable you like most and looks best at the grocery store; in season will always taste best!

I like to eat this with crusty bread and plenty of grated warm on top if I am in the need of serious sustenance and comfort, or just with and extra pinch of red pepper flakes if I want something lighter in the middle of the day. I adore how this soup is so healthy but so hearty; no matter how you serve it you feel utterly satisfied. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/4 cup tomatoes paste
3/4 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup 1/2 diced butternut squash
3/4 cup green beans, cup into 1 inch lengths
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup small elbow noodles
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans
2 cups baby spinach
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Grated parmesan, for garnish


Method:

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, tomato paste and pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add in the butternut squash, oregano and thyme; cook two minutes until fragrant. Add in the diced tomatoes, broth and water. Add another pinch of salt, bay leaves, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then add the pasta, green beans, cannellini beans and spinach. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. Add the frozen peas and cook for another 5 minutes. 


Remove from the heat and fish out the bay leaves. Stir in the lemon juice and remaining olive olive. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with generous gratings of parm!


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