Minestrone and Garlic Bruschetta

April 1, 2013

Theres no two ways around it.  I see the tiny buds on trees and sprouting daffodils, but these chilly mornings and days are not the Spring I was hoping to see.  My brother in Boone, NC recently received half a foot of snow… and it’s almost April.  A few ski resorts are staying open longer and I sowed spinach seeds on St. Patrick’s Day that are probably clinging to life as they lie underneath our make-shift greenhouse.

I should remind myself though, that pretty soon it will be July.  Days will be scorching hot and I will be attempting to tame the weeds that will inevitably take over my yard while wishing I had never written these words.  For now, I will practice patience for those warm, Spring days and put on a big, hearty pot of soup for dinner… soaking in the last few weeks of cold weather.

Soup time…

Winter Minestrone from Simplified Feast 1

First, 4 ounces of diced pancetta go into a preheated Dutch oven with olive oil.  For some reason, this step is so satisfying.  Last year, I had the good fortunate of traveling to Italy for the first time.  I attended a 2-week culinary intensive covering all Italian classics; from making our own pasta to preparing a proper bechamel sauce for an authentic lasagna… we did it all.  This step reminds me of our teacher, Margherita, gracefully stirring a huge pot over her state-of-the-art range as us Americans gawked in amazement.

Winter Minestrone from Simplified Feast 2
Next, chopped onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme are added to the pot and cooked until they begin to soften.  It’s a beautiful sight.

Winter Minestrone from Simplified Feast 3
Tomatoes are added next, followed by chicken stock, a bay leaf, and s&p.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat… let it simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, while you attend to other things in life (like make these superb garlic bruschetta below…)

Winter Minestrone from Simplified Feast 4
Baguettes rule the world.  I think I buy one every other week.  It usually gets eaten in an after work hunger craze slathered with good butter or olive oil.  Whatevs… that’s life.

However, I recommend you take a moment to prepare these.  Garlic bruschetta is totally worth it and they go great with this soup.  Slice baguette  at a 45 degree angle, brush both sides with olive oil, bake for 6 minutes, and as soon as your tender hands can touch them, rub the surface with a cut garlic clove.  The subtle garlic flavor is mesmerizing.

Winter Minestrone from Simplified Feast 5
After a nice simmer, add 2 c. cooked pasta (I used ditalini), 1 can rinsed cannellini beans, and a gracious plenty of fresh baby spinach.  Re-season with salt and pepper and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and the garlic bruschetta.

Winter Minestrone from Simplified Feast 6

The above is not the most attractive picture, but this soup is great to take to work for lunch… every darn day of the week… because that’s how much this recipe makes.  Please enjoy and I’ll see you come Spring time.

Recipe slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof.  For the full recipe, click here:  Minestrone and Garlic Bruschetta from Simplified Feast


One Response to “Minestrone and Garlic Bruschetta”

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