I’ve just spent the better part of the evening driving back in heavy rain. I spent the day visiting with my family, one long overdue. I always find it funny that my parents shoo me home as soon as it gets dark.
“Either you stay the night or you go now”, they’ll say.
After 40 years of being my parents, they still worry about me driving at night, especially in bad weather. In their minds I guess I’ll always be their kid and they’ll never stop being concerned for my safety.
I’m safe at home now and happy for the long drive to be behind me. Three accidents I drove by today–thankfully, no one appeared seriously hurt. Maybe my parents did have a point in wanting me to delay my drive home until the morning.
Somewhere between the Bay Bridge and home hunger pangs struck. Now, an hour later, I’m enjoying a big bowl of this minestrone soup. It’s loaded with vegetables and made hearty by the pasta and beans. So comforting! Was I glad to have these leftovers from last night’s dinner. And the best part? This easy minestrone soup took very little time to cook on the stove–it’s a shortcut version from an early 70s New York Times cookbook on bread and soup I found at my local used bookshop. I used canned beans instead of soaking dried beans overnight and I used store-bought vegetable stock. All the ingredients were already in my pantry and refrigerator. As Ina would say, “How easy is that?” Easy indeed…and worth the long drive home.
- 3 large stalks celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 zucchini, diced
- ⅓ large cabbage, chopped
- 1 15-oz can navy beans
- 1 15-0z can kidney beans
- 6-8 cups vegetable stock (I usually end up adding the last two cups because the pasta absorbs the stock after a while)
- 1 cup pasta (I used cavatelli; don’t be tempted to add more than this)
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- no-salt seasoning
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Chopped Parsley for garnish
- Grated Parmesan for garnish
- In a large pot, sauté the celery, onion and carrot in olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the dried thyme and dried sage. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are slightly caramelized.
- Add the diced tomatoes, beans and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
- Add the pasta, zucchini and cabbage about 7 minutes before you turn off the heat. This will be just enough time for the pasta to cook and the cabbage and zucchini to become a bit tender. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Ladle in bowls and garnish with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.