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.
- 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
- 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.