I love Christmas but for me, winter weather isn't ideal. The cold, the early darkness, the dreary skies...I'm more of a flip-flop & margarita person! Rather than just wish it all away, I make an effort to look out for the great things about the season. Third to flannel shirts and red wine, soup is on the list of "a few of my favorite things." (yes, I sang that part)
When you come home from work to a dark & chilly house, its so nice to set a pot of soup on the stove while you get yourself settled. I make soup on the weekends when I'm cooking other things. Its so easy to chop a few extra carrots & celery, a bit more garlic and throw together something satisfying, warm and healthy for mid-week.
On the other hand, overcooked pasta is on my list of least favorite things. When you re-heat soup, the pasta just softens... (I cringe). For this reason, I boil the pasta separate.
For this batch, I soaked and Great Northern Beans, which is a nice thing to do when time allows. You get a bit more texture from the beans and you control the sodium, but a can of cannellini works just as well.
Heres what you'll need:
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 28 oz. can of chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 cup Great Northern Beans, soaked OR 1 large can cannellini or other white beans
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- spinach, medium bunch
- salt & pepper
- Pesto to top, if desired
- Parmesan cheese, grated on top, if desired
- Ditalini, cooked
Heres what you'll do:
For the beans:
Inspect beans while rinsing under cold water. Cover beans with water and soak overnight. Drain.
For the Soup:
1. In a large pot on medium heat, add olive oil, carrots, onions, celery and garlic and cook until tender. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt & pepper. Let simmer on low heat until tomatoes cook, stirring occastionally, about 30 minutes.
For the pesto:
In a food processor, add 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 1 garlic clove, chopped, 1/4 cup of pine nuts (or walnuts), 1/4 cup grated parmesan and pulse until chopped. Drizzle in about 1/4 cup of olive oil and continue processing until smooth. (Or try "Pistachio Pesto" using our Search feature.)
In a shallow serving bowl, add cooked pasta, the soup and top with pesto and more parmesan cheese.
xo & a pinch!