Soup is not an exact art, so I set off in search of a good base from which to work. I thought minestrone sounded good and found an autumn minestrone that used fall squash along with greens.
I added, subtracted, adjusted and liked the final result! Of course
I also made bread to go with the soup. Bread machine Italian bread to which I added asiago cheese, chopped sun dried tomatoes and minced fresh rosemary. It was almost as good as the soup! I know there are many purists out there who would never use a bread machine but I have to admit that I think they are one of the top kitchen appliances! It was sooooo easy to put the ingredients in the machine, walk away for 3 hours and come back to a loaf of delicious warm bread! Besides, it makes your house smell scrumptious!
Use this recipe as a base, make the changes that your family likes and enjoy. You can't go wrong!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped onions ( 2 medium or 1 large)
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 cups peeled and cubed winter squash (butternut)
3 celery stalks, diced
2 cups peeled and diced carrots
3 cups cubed potatoes (Klondike Gold)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 cups chicken broth (or half broth and half water)
4 cups chopped kale (or spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, etc)
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini (or any white) beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups cooked small tube pasta (ditalini or elbows)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onion and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add squash, celery, carrots, potatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and chicken broth. Cook until veggies are almost fork tender, about 10 minutes. Add kale and beans; cook until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in hot cooked pasta just before serving.
Helen's notes: Garnish with shredded asiago cheese and a drop of balsamic or red wine vinegar. If you have a rind of Parmesan cheese, add that with the broth and simmer until it thickens the soup and veggies are almost tender. Substitute frozen green beans for kale.
Bread Machine Italian Bread
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water, 80 degrees
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons dry milk powder
4 cups bread flour (King Arthur, unbleached)
1 pkg yeast
2 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled)
1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
Place ingredients in bread machine in order listed. Set program to French course, 2 lb loaf, medium crust. Go away and let the machine make magic!!!