One time I was driving down the road with my son, Karis. It was a chilly day and we were talking about our favorite foods. Totally out of the blue, he asked me, "Mama, what do you think the best word in the world is?" Well, I thought and I thought, and I was thinking of so many beautiful words. But first, I wanted to hear from him.
"That's a hard one," I said. "What do you think is the best word in the world?"
Without hesitation, Karis replied, "Soup. That's got to be the best word in the world."
After some thought, I decided he was absolutely right. When the temperature drops and families gather close and keep warm, the best memories are ushered in with a soup pot. Soup does a miraculous thing. It takes the outcasts, the leftovers, the bits and pieces that never found a home in a proper meal, and creates something wonderful--filling the belly and warming the heart. I don't mean to get carried away, but soup just has a way of doing that to me.
I've decided to share with you a favorite soup recipe of mine. It's minestrone soup and it's delicious! Now, don't get all caught up in the recipe. Minestrone is one of those recipes that you can add a little of this and a little of that and it forgives you and makes something even tastier. Once I had a little spaghetti sauce in the fridge. I tossed it in and it was great. Another time, I grabbed a handful of frozen peas and threw them in. It was a winner, too. So, try this recipe for a sure-fire family winner. And if you serve some warm, crusty bread alongside, you'll be serving up sheer love.
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
4 tsp garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth (can also use chicken broth)
1 (30 oz.) can red kidney beans
1 (30 oz.) can white cannellini beans
1 (14 oz.) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 carrot, chopped
3/4 cup frozen green beans, Italian-cut
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
3 cups hot water
1 box frozen chopped spinach (all moisture squeezed out)
3/4 cup shell pasta
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Saute onion, zucchini, celery, and garlic for about five minutes. Add vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans, carrot, green beans, hot water, and spices. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for about twenty minutes. Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. Serve it up and enjoy the love!