Thursday, February 14, 2013

Winter Minestrone---courtesy Ina Garten...somewhere ...originally

It's not a pretty picture...I know - but it's all I really have.
I was reading some blog's and this soup caught my eye.  I don't know where I originally saw it though.
But it was inspired from Barefoot Contessa's latest book.  Winter minestrone I think it's called.

I just googled it and there it was 

So I spent tuesday trolling through italian markets to find the pasta

and while I was there purchased some pancetta.  But I figured I'd make a bigger pot of soup so I bought 6+ ounces instead.  Some fresh garlic and canned Italian diced tomatoes. I spotted some fresh focaccia bread so I bought a fresh bottle of balsamic so that I could smoosh the focaccia into some balsamic and olive oil with the soup.  ( I should have bought two's been a while since we had it so we all pigged out and were depressed when it was all gone).

I diced up the pancetta, browned it all up.  Added two large onions, 6 garlic, about 5 or 6 veins of celery. Sauted that all up.  There was a package of butternut squash already peeled and cubed so I cut it up a bit smaller cubes, and also about 6 carrots.  Dumped in some balsamic and lea&perrins for good measure and pepper.  I poured the liquid from the tomatoes into a pan and less than half of the diced tomatoes to fry it up a bit (I hate the taste of tomatoes that haven't been fried up a bit)  Since there is one adult in this combined household that has an avertion to seeing actual tomatoes floating around in anything I pulverized the rest with an imersion blender and then added it to the frying pan with the rest.  There was a yam leftover from the night before so that was smooshed into the tomatoes as well as some salt and red pepper flakes.  That was all heated up and fried up somewhat.  Then was added to the veg in the pot with about 4 different containers of broth that were in the fridge.  Two were beef broth and two were chicken broth.  All together there was probably just under three containers.  I was also boiling up about a handful of cannelli beans in another pot because the canned beans were just too mushy ...and being a bean hater...I figured I'd make my own.  I threw in a couple 3 bay leaves and squirted some chili paste and a good swig of bragg's. I spotted a container with sauted green beans from the night before, so I threw them in as well.  Probably about 1/2 cup cut up green beans.

I turned the heat off while the beans were doing their thing in their own pot and added them to the soup after they were ready.

I cooked the pasta seperate from the soup pot. When it was ready, it was drained in a sieve and I added a big glob of butter and stirred it up.  It was added to the pot just prior to reheating the soup for dinner. When the soup came to a boil I threw in some chopped up spinach and a big glob of pesto. I still can't believe my good fortune finding a big bag of frozen homemade pesto from summer languishing in the back of my daughters freezer.

I smeared some olive oil over the focaccia bread and wrapped it up in foil - threw it into the oven.

Dinner was served

My g'daughter looked at it...and inquired if that "green stuff" was spinach.
-Yes it is
-But baba I hate spinach
-well baba hates spinach too and beans (i picked out a bean and showed it to her), but everything else in here sure does taste good.
-okkkkkay I will try it

she ate the whole bowl and requested more.

That's the secret to non mushy pasta in minestrone.  Cook it seperately from the soup and then after dinner get it in the fridge to cool down quick.  This morning I poured in about 1/2 a container of broth and a good swig of bragg's into the leftover container before it was taken for lunches.

And I've had a sudden craving for tortellini and stinky salad for dinner.  And I swore that I would not go into a grocery store again this week.  But there is no feta cheese, no cuc's, or tortellini either.  And we're all going to want some more of that facoccia bread again.  I wonder how much I will spend today.  Crap ....I'm beginning to really hate the food markets.

I can't believe this cost me $40.  What is going on with the cost of food these days.  I think we need a raise.

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