City Gay and Country Gay

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thanks, Daily Soup

Tonight I made Daily Soup's winter minestrone for Bill, Bug, and the Foxes. I'd never had minestrone, let alone realized how easy it is to make. When I first saw the recipe called for cabbage and butternut squash, I couldn't imagine how the soup would taste, but after mixing everything together and adding the homemade pesto (Who knew this was incredibly easy to make, too?), the strong taste of pesto, garlic, and thyme was shining through. I probably could have eaten several bowls of this, but I held off.

While I don't own the Daily Soup cookbook, I really should. It's a winter staple for soup making with friends. While some recipes may seem complicated, the pay off of a good, solid soup is worth the time and effort of using a lot of ingredients. Go here to buy the cook book.

Here is the recipe for the winter minestrone:

2 Tbs olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 head cabbage, preferably Savoy, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bunch fresh basil stems (leaves removed), tied together with string
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
8 cups basic vegetable stock
1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 red potatoes, cut into 1inch cubes
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 (3-inch) piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 cups uncooked spinach radiatore pasta, or any spiral pasta
1 cup prepared basil pesto*
1/2 cup chopped scallions

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sweat for 4 minutes, until tender.

Add the cabbage and sweat for 4 minutes, until wilted.

Add the thyme, basil stems, salt, and pepper and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the stock, squash, potatoes, tomato paste, and Parmesan rind and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, until tender.

To serve, remove the basil stems and Parmesan rind, ladle the soup into bowls, and top with a dollop of pesto and the chopped scallions.

*Pesto Recipe

1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves (Use the leaves from the stems you put in the soup.)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Put basil leaves, cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until ground. While blending, add the olive oil steadily until the mixture becomes a fine paste.

(Before going to the store to buy ingredients for the soup I suggested buying pesto, but this really is so easy to make that it's just silly to not make homemade pesto sauce.)

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