Stacy's Minestrone Soup


* 10 Roma tomatoes
* One small zucchini, diced
* One carrot, peeled and diced
* two stalks of celery, diced
* one onion, diced
* five cloves of garlic, minced
* two sprigs of thyme
* lots of salt and pepper


* two handfuls of chopped kale
* Parmesan rind

It's a snowy evening here in Snowy Mountains. Kind of pleasant. And since it's Sunday, I don't really mind — I don't have to be anywhere. And besides, it's perfect soup cooking weather. What's my favorite snowy evening soup? Why, none other than minestrone.

Since I'm a vegetarian, so is my soup. Which is okay — because minestrone is all about the vegetables. I had some doubts as to whether or not my version of minestrone counted as legitimate minestrone soup. I don't eat it with pasta, but with rice. And I don't use beans. So what did I do to find out? I went to Wikipedia of course! After reading their definition, I felt validated. Minestrone soup is minestrone soup, regardless of what you put in it or, in my case, do not put in it. So my vegetarian, beanless, pasta-less brew could indeed be, must be, minestrone.

If you do eat meat, consider using chicken stock or sauteing bacon/pancetta with the onions.

Now, before one begins cooking, there are certain things one needs to ease the suffering. Sure, cooking can be fun — but it's also tiring. You stand around, you chop vegetables, and before long, your back starts to ache.

The first order of business? Some tunes!


And to make sure that the pain is not too acute, wine is all but required. After trying to drink several bottles of Chianti (over a few days, of course) I concluded that I don't really like Chianti. Chianti — whatever. Sure, maybe it works with food. And that's why I got it. But the first swig is just — ick.


Now then. Let's get on with it, shall we? First, I make the coffee. Why? Because I'm going to want it after this light meal. But I'll be too tired and whiny to make it later. I'm drinking Starbucks Decaf Verona. Decaf — key.


Next, I'm on to the rice.


I need a big pot to cook my soup. I'm so happy to find that my soup pot is at the very bottom of all my other ones. Perfect! Thank God I have that wine!


But here it is; I've fished it out.



* 10 Roma tomatoes
* One small zucchini, diced
* One carrot, peeled and diced
* two stalks of celery, diced
* one onion, diced
* five cloves of garlic, minced
* two sprigs of thyme
* lots of salt and pepper


* two handfuls of chopped kale
* Parmesan rind

Here they are!


Please note, if you will, this fantastic jar of garlic that I have purchased! I think we need a close-up of that…

Yes! There it is! The best thing ever. Those little jars of minced garlic that they sell, they just don't cut it. But this is the real thing. Only it's a lot easier for you to deal with.


Now let's get some olive oil in that pan.


And start getting the garlic all bubbly.



But I'm having kind of a problem. I know I bought a zucchini. I remember standing there in Stop and Shop for like 10 minutes looking for the smallest one. Yet now I can't find it anywhere. And since there's very little of substance in my soup — no meat, no beans — every vegetable is essential. I think I spent 30 minutes looking for the zucchini. It's absolutely nowhere in the refrigerator.

Is it in the freezer? There could be anything in there!


What about the cabinets?


Rats, I'm screwed. Oh well, I'm certainly not going out there in the dark night and the storm to get one tiny zucchini. I'll just have to eat more chocolate later.

Moving on. It's time to get cutting. For Christmas, Virtual Dad picked up this Vidalia Chop Wizard at the Yankee swap. He gave it to me/I browbeat him into giving it to me. Whatever the case, it's lovely.


Just pop that onion in there like this…


Slam down the cover, and then bam! All diced up.


Dump those guys in there and then cut up the rest of the veggies (carrots, celery, and zucchini).



It's time to cut the tomatoes. Some people like to blanch them first to get rid of the skins. I too dislike the skins. But I'm too lazy to blanch them. Instead, I cut off the top and the bottom, slice them in half, and then lift out the skins with chopsticks (seems weird, but they are good for grabbing things) once they become loose after cooking.


By the way, I was happy to find out today that my tomatoes were probably picked by slaves in Florida. Great. Well, on a more positive note, it's a good excuse to spend extra money on good tomatoes at Whole Foods.

After the tomatoes have been cooking for a few minutes, I add 4 cups of water. I bring that to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes. If you want to add the Parmesan rind, now's the time.


Don't forget to add your thyme! I usually just throw the whole sprig in and then remove it before serving.


If you have some kale around, add a handful or two near the end. I usually cook it for only about five minutes so it will be nice and bright green.

I think were done here!

Just add a spoonful of rice and an obscene amount of shredded pecorino Romano cheese. Feel free to add more periodically. Enjoy!





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