Quick Summer Minestrone

The other day, I came across this recipeby Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times.  It looked delicious and fairly simple, so I planned to give it a try.  I decided Wednesday night would be soup night, but by the time I got home from work, decompressed, and straightened up the house, I only had about thirty minutes to put it together.  The recipe would easily take an hour.  Now, I used to be a faithful recipe follower; I would never stray from the directions.  I think all that was good training, but now I can happily improvise when needed.  This is an especially important skill when you’re trying to live off a frugal pantry.  Here’s what I came up with in under thirty minutes.  I swapped out the water for diluted chicken broth to get a heartier flavor a little quicker and cooked the soup over a little higher heat to speed up the vegetables.  If you’ve got some tomatoes (and who doesn’t these days!) and a bit of summer produce in the bin, try this soup out.

  • 2 TBs olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder or red pepper
  • 2 tsp dried herbs (I used an Italian mix)
  • salt
  • 1 lb tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 quart water and 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 lb summer squash or other firm-ish vegetable
  • 6 oz green beans
  • 1 c broken pasta (I used leftover lasagna noodles)
  • 1/4 c fresh basil
  • extra olive oil, Parmesan, and crackers to finish

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, chili powder, and dried herbs.  Cook until onion softens, about five minutes, stirring occasionally.  While the onions cook, chop the tomatoes.  Add the tomatoes and salt, cook about five more minutes to soften the tomatoes.  While they cook, peel and dice the squash.  Once the tomatoes have released their juice and softened, add the water, chicken broth, and squash.  Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat about 15-20 minutes, until the squash softens.  While simmering, prep the green beans and toss them in.  About 9 minutes to the end, add the pasta to cook.  Finish by adding basil, a bit of extra oil, and cheese.  We also crumbled in some crackers, which thickened up the broth.

While Shulman’s version sounds delicious for a weekend meal, this streamlined version is nice because it’s all in one pot, and you can prep the vegetables while the soup is going to save time.  We loved it and plan to have leftovers tonight with pizza.


2 responses to “Quick Summer Minestrone

  1. This post has been included in the 141st Festival of Frugality at Almost Frugal, going live September 2, 2008. Please link back to the festival when you get a chance! If you enjoy the carnival, why not submit it to stumble upon, digg or pf buzz?

  2. Pingback: Weekly Roundup « My Daily Dollars

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