Happy New Year Everyone! I hope that you had a safe and fun holiday!
This New Years I did something that I haven’t done in probably 15 years! I made the trip up to Keystone Resort to hang out with forever friends from Cincinnati at their home in the mountains, my old stomping grounds. What a nice time! I love the kind of friends that you have that when you meet up, it was just like yesterday that you saw them! That’s the way it is with these folks. We grew up skiing, sailing, and camping together. All good activities for great fun memories!
For New Year’s Eve dinner, we ended up at the Snake River Saloon. Always a great choice for dining and still one of my favorite places to eat in Colorado. The venue is super rustic and the food has never varied from excellent for the past 28 years that I have been going there. That’s a pretty great track record in my book. I must say though, whoa! I haven’t been there for a few years and the memories flooded back. So many nights bellied up to their bar, listening to great live music, hanging out with so many friends, and just having fun. I need to make sure to get back there this year. It’s really a quintessential Colorado mountain hang out!
While I was at my friend Joyce’s home, she asked me to do a favor for her. “Of course,” I said, “what do you need”? She said, “I need you to taste something for me”. Well, since that is up my ally, I totally obliged. She took a quart of minestrone soup out of the refrigerator that she brought home from a local restaurant and heated it up and said, “I need to know what’s in it and how do I make it”. So we proceeded to dissect the soup. We seriously dissected the soup by pulling out all the ingredients that we could find and placed them on a paper towel. That was a first and a fun little experiment.
It was kind of perfect timing. I needed a recipe to make up this week and wanted to make something healthy to start the new year. Minestrone Soup was the perfect idea for the week. Minestrone soup and Pasta e Fagioli are both tasty Italian inspired soups but Minestrone is tomato based and packed with tons of vegetables, beans and pasta, where Pasta e Fagioli literally means “pasta and beans”, and is a broth-based soup seasoned with onions, garlic, and fresh herbs.
Minestrone soup is quick to put together and simmer on the stove. There is zero quilt in eating this hearty soup. You will never know that you are eating your vegetables and getting your protein all the while enjoying a little pasta along the way! Every spoonful is better than the last! Make a big pot of this soup. The whole family will love it and it makes a great lunch to pack during the week!
Have a great week and enjoy! 🙂
PS. Make sure you check out my photos below the recipe! The first full moon of the year! Simply stunning!
Homemade Minestrone Soup
- 2 tablespooons Olive Oil
- 1 cup Diced onions
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 stalks finely chopped celery
- 2 carrots thinly sliced
- 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
- 6 ounces finely chopped crimini mushrooms
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons marjoram
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oragano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 24 ounces tomato puree
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 pound short pasta such as ditalini
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables become soft.
- Add the diced tomatoes, marjoram, basil, oregano, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Stir in the tomato puree, chicken or vegetable stock, and beans. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for a half hour. Stirring occasionally.
- While the soup is simmering, cook the pasta according to package directions in salted boiling water. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- When the soup is finished simmering, stir in the parsley.
- To serve, add a scoop of the cooked pasta to a bowl and pour a large ladle or two of the soup over the pasta.