As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, I think about heading South. Or pulling out my goose-down comforter. Or buying a new winter coat. I also think of making a big pot of soup and that’s what I did this week. One of my favorites: Italian Minestrone.
A Pot of Veggies and Noodles to Warm the Innards
As I pulled out the ingredients I had on hand, I was missing the noodles I prefer. So when Robin called, I asked where she was.
“I’m in the car,” she said.
“Hmm . . . . might you be anywhere near The Hill?” I asked hopefully. I was delighted, when she said yes.
“I need a special noodle for the Minestrone I’m making,” I said. “I like tubetti, the short tubular noodle, but I’m all out. I can never find them in the grocery stores near me.”
Robin to the Rescue
Robin showed up a while later with five varieties of noodles! I stuck with the tubetti and we divvied up the remainder. In gratitude for the home delivery, I promised to share the soup with her when it was finished.
With noodles in hand, I was back to soup making. I love this merry medley of vegetables (onions, leek, carrots, celery, potatoes, zucchini, spinach, and tomatoes), but chopping them takes about 45 minutes. I need a sou chef. Hmm. . . I should have invited Robin to stay around for my “chopping party.”
Pointers That Add Flavor
There’s a couple of things I do with this soup (or any vegetable soup) to give more depth of flavor. I add a Parmesan cheese rind—a trick I learned from Italian cookbook maven Marcella Hazan. I keep them in the freezer just for soup making. I’ve noticed they sell them at the grocery now. Like a bay leaf, you remove the rind from the soup before serving.
I also saute the vegetables before adding the broth and tomatoes. In the end, goes the spinach and noodles.
While I’m Here . . .
While I had the kitchen in a mess, I made and froze a batch of Italian Meatballs. I get about 25 meatballs from the recipe, that calls for merely one pound of meat (a mix of ground beef and pork). Amazing!
It’s the panade (bread soaked in milk) that plumps up the ingredients and makes the meatballs smoother. I’m thinking that a freezer sack of meatballs will come in handy for those extra meals during the Thanksgiving holidays.