Many mornings by the coast in New England are thick with mist, especially in early spring when most days are dense with chilling rain. The fog reminds me of the mornings of my youth waking at my Dad’s house in Santa Rosa, California. I’d be up very early as I’d still be on East coast time after I arrived, and it’d take a week or so for me to acclimate to the new timezone. The greeting from that Northern California fog somehow made me feel at home. It offered a sense of peace, allowing me to quickly settle back into the routine of my life on the opposite coast.
Although it’s been many years since I was that youngster, I still find calm from misty mornings, especially when reflected upon with a warming cup of bold coffee in hand.
Gray days call for soup. Yes, I know, another soup recipe…In my defense, it still feels like winter here and soup serves up such comfort and warmth.
This basic minestrone is made with what I have on hand. If you have spinach or kale, a handful of either may be a nice addition. Minced fresh herbs would also be lovely.
I keep the broth light and vegetables chunky. I recommend dunking with whatever bread, buns, or rolls you might have. This recipe is a fantastic way to use up leftover cooked pasta or rice.
Recipe: Simple Minestrone
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 small red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
ground black pepper
15.5 ounce can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups fresh water
2 cups dry elbow macaroni pasta
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat Italian parsley
Coat bottom of a Dutch oven with olive oil and place over medium heat. Once oil shimmers, carefully add carrots and celery, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes (continuing to stir). Add garlic, and cook for an additional minute. Season to your liking with salt and pepper. Scatter mixture with parsley.
Mash half of the beans with a fork and add all to the pot. Add tomatoes, broth, water, and pasta, and half of the parsley, and stir together. Bring to a steady simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low, and cook uncovered until pasta is al dente, and carrots are fork-tender, approximately 10 minutes. Garnish with remaining parsley. Top with grated parmesan cheese and a pinch of crushed red pepper, if you’re so inclined.
My youngest waiting for the soup to cool enough for a taste.