This last weekend I had an Autumnal (or Fall) Equinox Celebration at my home and it seemed like the perfect time to make my favorite Minestrone Soup Recipe. The leaves are starting to change color and slowly fall off the trees. The temperature is also getting down right crisp in the evening and early mornings. September is my favorite month and for the first time ever, I am looking forward to fall & winter.
About this time last year, I was looking for a great Minestrone Soup Recipe and my dear friend Ashley found this in the newspaper. It came from the Restaurante Della Fontana. For those of you around my age, you most likely ate at the Della Fontana before one of your High School Proms. It brings back many wonderful memories.......
~ Restorante della Fontana ~
¼ Cup Olive Oil
1 Cup diced onions
1 Cup diced carrots
1 Cup diced celery
½ Cup pearl barley
3 Cups Water
1 Cup chopped cabbage
1 Cup chopped spinach
1 Cup green beans, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons garlic
1 Cup cooked (or canned) kidney beans
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 ½ teaspoons salt (I use sea-salt)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
2 (32-ounce) boxes beef broth plus 1 Cup (I use Vegetable broth)
1 Cup ditalini pasta (I use 1/2 ditalini and 1/2 small shells)
In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent and the other vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Add the pearl barley and water to the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, about 35 minutes.
Add the cabbage, spinach and green beans and continue to cook, covered, until the spinach has wilted and the cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, kidney beans, tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, oregano & broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, about 15 minutes. (I also added the onions, carrots and celery mixture at this point)
Add the pasta and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, another 10 minutes. Season with Salt and pepper.
MAKES 5 quarts!
TIP: I love a little more kick and add a bit more Oregano to the recipe. It also freezes well so I often make a double batch. When un-freezing, you will need to add more water or vegetable broth while heating.
I hope you enjoy.....