One of the things I love about minestrone soup is how flexible it is (at least the way I make it): there are almost no constants in the ingredients, other than onions, garlic, some form of tomatoes, and some type of beans. Other than that, pretty much anything goes.
That being said, one of the things that most frustrates me about minestrone soup is that every now and then I make a batch and think, “Oh, wow, I nailed it!” and then I realize I wasn’t really paying attention to what I’d done (and definitely didn’t measure anything) and there’s an extremely good chance I’ll never be able to perfectly replicate it.
Such is life - I try not to stress over this. At least not too much
Anyway, last week I had a bunch of veggies that needed to be used and, as it was actually cool here in southern California, I decided it was perfect soup-making weather!
2 large yellow onions, peeled, trimmed, and diced
1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled, trimmed, and minced
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried oregano and basil
1-2 cups (each) diced carrots and celery
Diced zucchini, yellow squash, Chinese eggplant (no idea how this differs from Japanese eggplant)
28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (Cento brand)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
4 cans of beans (cannellini, garbanzos, and “white beans”) drained and well-rinsed
Frozen green beans
Saute onion in olive oil until soft, add garlic, dried herbs, and cook a few minutes more.
Add the carrots and celery, give a stir, cover, and let cook for a few minutes.
Then add the softer veggies, canned tomatoes, and drained beans.
Stir well to combine.
Add water to cover by an inch or two, drop in a couple sprigs of fresh oregano and some fresh cracked pepper, cover, and bring to a simmer.
Once simmering, reduce heat to low, skim off any foam, and allow to cook, stirring occasionally.
After about 1/2 an hour, taste and add salt if needed. Add the frozen green beans, and let it cook some more.
Add water if needed. (I tend to prefer less broth - others may feel differently.)
Should be done in another 1/2 hour or so, once all veggies are tenderish.
If you can stand it, let soup cool and then refrigerate overnight: the flavors will really change during that time and be much fuller the next day!
Remove sprigs of fresh oregano before serving.
I usually cook pasta separately and then ladle the soup over it, so the noodles don’t absorb all the broth. Fresh Parmesan shave/grated over the top, or passed at the table for people to add if they wish, is definitely recommended.