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Spring Minestrone



Could it possibly be summer here and all we want is soup these days? Specifically, we want this spring minestrone for lunch and dinner! Well, maybe not everyone in the Savoring Italy kitchen wants it all the time, but I sure do!! And it's not really summer here, but the cooler spring days have now turned into rainy and steamy summer-like days.



It is so easy to think of all these different and creative things to make for dinner. But thinking of and actually making a different and creative dinner are two really different things. The reality hits you when it's the end of a long day and you haven't got any thing made yet how far away the creative and fabulous dinner could be.

Then along comes a minestrone. I'm not kidding. A minestrone could come together super easily with simple things you will find in the vegetables you bought for the week. I always start with the carrots, onions and celery that I always have around. And then I like to mix it up with what I have that's fresh and hopefully, seasonal and delicious. If we were in Italy, we would be using what my father-in-law just picked from his garden that morning or evening and that my mother-in-law rinsed off. I wish I had the time and the success to keep a vegetable garden going here. When I was growing up, my dad had cuccuzze (Sicilian eggplant) in our backyard, along with tomatoes. The zucchini were as tall as my brother and I! They were amazing. He was a farmer, so he knew exactly what he was doing, even dealing with our weak Florida dirt that could never compare to the mineral rich soil he had in Sicily. They flourished and they were babied by him every year.
Spring Minestrone


We did try a few times to grow they in our garden, and it seems that even with my adding the right soil, I don't have what it takes to keep it going. I do have success with my herbs and with my orchids, but the vegetables haven't quite worked out yet here. One time my mother-in-law planted zucchini seeds before they left to go back to Italy. They had been visiting us for about a month. I happily called to tell her that the flowers were sprouting and the plant was growing all along my fence. The leaves were huge and I was picking about 6 flowers a day. And that was it! Really, nothing else exciting to report to her on the zucchini growing. She was pleading with me to check every evening and pull off the slugs. Leave cups of beer around the plants for the slugs to die in. She told me what do with the flowers and the small beginnings of zucchini that were growing. They never grew more than the beginnings of zucchini. They died and so did my hope to being a real gardener. It was so disappointing to me, and possibly, more disappointing to her, because we got so close!!


Spring Minestrone


Spring Minestrone



some notes on the recipe:

I used the vegetables that I had on hand and that I love. I made another one the same week and added asparagus instead of the peas. The point is, you can mix up this soup and make it to your taste adding whatever spring vegetables you encounter in your market exploring or what you (lucky you!)have growing in your garden. You could use dandelion or Swiss chard instead of spinach. I usually have baby spinach around (fresh or frozen)and my kids don't mind it at all in a soup, so that's usually my choice green leaf vegetable. I used orzo because I had some on hand and have been wanting to use it up in a soup. This is vegan, because I used vegetable broth.



Spring Minestrone

by Savoring Italy
Prep Time: approx 10 minutes
Cook Time: approx 30 minutes

Ingredients (6 servings)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 garlic, smashed
  • 2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced (use an onion if you don't have leeks)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped tomato
  • 4-6 cups stock or water (I used vegetable stock, you could use chicken)
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup peas (I used frozen from fresh that I had in my freezer)
  • 1 cup baby fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Instructions
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, leeks, rosemary,carrots, celery, red pepper flakes, and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the potato and tomatoes and cook 2 more minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Add stock or water and bring to a simmer (start with 4 or 5 cups of stock. Depending on how thick you want your minestrone, add another cup if you want it less thick). Cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
If you are adding orzo or a broken pieces of a thin spaghetti, bring soup to a boil and add them in now. When the pasta is almost done, add in the zucchini and peas. If you aren't adding pasta to the soup, keep the soup on a simmer and add in the zucchini and peas and cook for about 10 minutes (or until the zucchini are tender).

If you did add the pasta, cook until the pasta is al dente (it will keep cooking in the soup because it is very hot, so check to make sure it doesn't become too mushy).

Add spinach and parsley during the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

19 comments

  1. Wow! I love soup recipes like this! Makes my heart warm!!

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  2. I miss the garden my Dad farmed when I was growing up! This is a beautiful soup! Looks delicious!

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  3. I love all of the green veggies in this soup!

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  4. Soups like this one are perfect for summer! I don't have much success with gardening either, so you're not alone in that!

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  5. Yum! I love how fresh this is and i bet it is just delicious!

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  6. What a lovely minestrone! Such lovely colors. I love your suggestion to add dandelion greens or Swiss chard (I love both)!

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  7. I have a question. Your ingredients list includes broth or water 2 times. I only need max 6 cups of liquid, right?
    I do this all the time, but just double-checking because I am making this for the weekend. Perfect for lunch or a quick fix-ahead dunner.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,
    Linda

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  8. Hi Linda, yes-just once! I adjusted that and also I typed Italian spinach and had meant to type Italian parsley :) I like my minestrone a little thicker, but you can add more broth (or water)to adjust to your taste. Cheers-Lora

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  9. I just adore this soup! I am the girl that eats soup year round so I am saving this for later!

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  10. I am one of those people who likes soup all year 'round so I got really excited when I saw this recipe!

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  11. I could be wrong, but don't the zucchini grow from the blooms? I think if you pick the flowers, you lose the zucchini. Anyway, great looking soup. I love that it's packed full of spring veggies. It looks so delicious!!

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  12. Yes, totally. But that year she was here and planted her seeds from Italy, I'm thinking the soil wasn't right and I had to pull the flowers. There were a couple flowers that had zucchini growing, but they didn't make it. They were tiny and ended up dying before growing. So sad. At least the flowers were great! Thanks, Renee!

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  13. Love all the spring veggies packed into this delicious looking soup!

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  14. Lora this is stunning. I love minestrone which is odd because I'm not usually a soup girl. But minestrone rocks. This is perfection.

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  15. Spring soup sounds divine. Love the added fresh veggies in it. IT makes it looks so bright and I'm sure it's full of robust flavor!

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  16. […] Lora at Savoring Italy has a light and delicious Spring Minestrone. […]

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  17. One of the things I love about minestrone is how you can vary its ingredients to suit whatever's in season. A dish that truly is for all seasons!

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  18. Boo,Vurjnenise est une ville très touristique. Il y a donc beaucoup de monde qui circulent sur le bord des canaux, pas toujours larges. Se promener avec des enfants ne doit pas être évident avec tout ce monde, surtout si vous avez une poussette. Venise est réputée comme étant la ville des amoureux. De ce fait, je ne sais pas s’il y a des activités pour les enfants. A très bientôt.

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