Friday, May 16, 2008

Vegetable soup, update for the previous post

We won't call it minestrone, just a vegetable soup, OK? I was actually able to eat it when it was 95F outside. May be it's because this soup is so colorful, and even now, 15 years out of the bartenders school I still feel that "presentation is everything".

This recipe calls for a lot of engredients, but it's actually very flexible. Anything except the stock, tomatoes, and pasta can left out or substituted.

In my case, I had frozen beef stock made with a ham bone, but regular beef or even good chicken stock should be fine.

For approximately 4 servings:
3-4 cups of beef stock (frozen is fine)
3 slices of bacon
1 large red onion
3 garlic cloves
2 leeks
2 carrots
1 fennel bulb
2-3 selery stalks
1 bell pepper
2-3 small zuccini
3-5 spears of asparagus
a handfull of small pasta, I used aneletti, the little rings; orzo is good; spagetti or any flat pasta can be broken into small pieces; or use rice instead
a handful of fresh fava beans, shelled and skinned

1 large tomato, or use canned
a little olive oil
a few sprigs of oregano and rosemary
salt, pepper
grated parmesan and basil leaves for serving

I know that it's a shame to use this tomato for cooking, but it was huge and overripe, it couldn't wait another day. So I ate half of it in a salad with fresh mozarella, basil, sea salt, pepper, EVOO and just a touch of balsamico, and sacrificed the other half for the soup. In any other situation I would open a can of whole tomatoes, eat one or two, and use the rest, with juice.

Cut bacon into small squares. Peel and chop the onion, mince garlic, cut leeks, celery, fennel and carrots into thin half-rounds, remove seeds from the bell pepper and cut it into 1/2-inch squares, slice the tomato, asparagus and zuccini.
In a large soup pot or deep sautee pan with little olive oil, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove andset aside to dry on a paper towel. In the same oil, sautee the onion and garlic. Add rosemary, oregano, carrots, fennel, celery and leek, cover and cook on low until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Add stock (if using frozen stock, thaw it and bring to boil first!), pasta, peppers and asparagus, simmer for a few minutes, then add tomatoes, zuccini and beans, simmer for a few more minutes.
The soup is ready whenever the pasta is cooked.
Add bacon, stir, and adjust salt and pepper.
Remove rosemary and oregano, unless you want additional herbal flavor.
Serve garnished with grated parmesan and torn basil leaves, out in the garden.
Wine: BV Coastal Pinot Grigio

No comments: