Minestrone Soup with Savory Citrus Brine

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Minestrone is one of those soups I ate so often from a can as a child that I forgot that it originated from a real place (not the island of Progresso). But the Roman soup, now maybe most associated with family trips to the Olive Garden, can easily be made at home using the bounty of produce that makes the cold months more livable.

My minestrone acts as both a post-holiday detox and a vehicle to help use up the extra brine haunting your countertop from seasoning your turkey. So, cozy up with a bowl of this savory, vegetable-laden stew and unwind into winter.

Recipe by: Kourtney Paranteau

Serves 6-8 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp good-quality olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into rings
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1 yellow squash, cut lengthwise then chopped into crescents 
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp Jacobsen Co. Savory Citrus Brine
  • 1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-15 oz. can cannellini beans
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • the rind of one parmesan cheese hunk (optional) 
  • 1 bunch of kale 
  • 1 ½ cup small pasta rings (or another small shape) 

PROCESS

In your largest dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until the bottom of the pans glistens. Using a wooden spoon to jostle your ingredients, melt your onion and garlic into the olive oil until the allium’s fragrances fill the room and they’re left slightly translucent (about four minutes).

Pick up your wooden spoon again and cook your carrots, celery and squash until they all lose a little of their color but not the integrity of their structure (about three minutes). Quickly coat the vegetable mixture with tomato paste and cook for an additional minute before sprinkling all of your herbs and our Savory Citrus Brine into the pot and stir. Increase the heat under your pot to just under medium-high, pour in your crushed tomatoes, cannellini beans, bay leaf and parmesan rind (if using). Allow the soup to bubble before reducing the heat to medium-low to simmer. 

If you’re planning on eating your minestrone soup right away, let the flavor of your both intermingle for at least an hour before cooking your pasta in a separate pot, straining and stirring into the rest of your soup. However, I usually make this pot of soup a day prior to when I plan on serving it and boil my pasta then; but most importantly don’t try and cook your pasta inside the pot of soup – you risk turning your vegetables into mush and bleeding too much starch into the pot, it’s worth the extra effort to pull out a separate pot and cook your pasta in it. Either way, try finding the cutest, smallest pasta – it adds a lot of personality with no extra work. 

Once your cooked pasta is floating in your soup, raise the temperature, briefly, and cook your kale until it deepens in shade (just a couple minutes), remove the pot from the heat and serve.

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