Sunday, September 14, 2014

Soup Season--Nana's Minestrone Soup from STAGED TO DEATH by Karen Rose Smith

At our house, fall and winter are soup season!  I have favorites I learned to make from my grandmother, mom and aunt.  One of the heartiest is minestrone, a full-bodied vegetable soup.  Over the years, I dabbled with the recipe and changed it to suit our family.  This is the one I included in STAGED TO DEATH, my first cozy mystery.  My sleuth Caprice loves to cook and I include recipes with each novel.   I love to make a pot of this soup for company because this recipe makes enough for a full table.

I hope it adds warmth to your fall and winter and brings lots of love around your dining table.

Nana's Minestrone Soup

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup medium pasta shells
1 cup onion (medium), chopped
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt (salt to taste, depending on the type of broth you use)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
A pinch to 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cans diced tomatoes with juice (14-16 oz. each)
1 cup tomato juice
1 quart chicken broth
1 quart beef stock (If using your own, make sure it's full bodied.  You can add bouillon cubes to make it richer.)
1/2-1 lb. fresh endive or escarole, snipped or cut into 1/2 inch pieces (leafy green part only)
1 can Great Northern beans (drained)
1 cup celery
1 cup shredded carrots (I buy them this way.)
1 cup shredded cabbage (I use cole slaw mixture.)
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup cut green beans (fresh or frozen)
1 bay leaf
Romano cheese to sprinkle on top!

Brown ground beef on medium heat in olive oil in 8 quart soup pot. When browned (no pink remaining), add chopped onion, grated garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper. Stir for a minute to mix flavors. Add tomato juice, tomatoes, salt and stir. Add beef stock and chicken broth, then bring to a boil. Stir in Northern beans, celery, carrots, zucchini, cabbage and green beans. (If using frozen green beans, bring soup to a boil again before adding endive.) Add endive last.

Bring soup to a boil again, add bay leaf, then simmer covered on low for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil again, remove bay leaf, add pasta, stir once more and cook until pasta is the way you like it, usually 10-12 minutes, without lid. Stir a few times while pasta is cooking. Sprinkle each serving with Romano cheese and serve with crusty bread. Makes 12-15 servings.

Enjoy. Leftovers are as good if not better than fresh servings!

©2012 Karen Rose Smith  (From STAGED TO DEATH)

©2014 Karen Rose Smith

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