When I make minestrone, I like to literally throw everything I have on hand into the pot. I don’t care what it is, I usually just throw it in anyway. This recipe makes a great use out of those leftovers. Minestrone is basically the Italian version of vegetable soup. Traditionally, you would not throw meat into the mix, but I like to add ham for added flavor. Feel free to skip this step (as well as the substitution of vegetable broth to make a vegetarian version). It’s really great either way. This particular minestrone recipe is winter in a bowl. It has what I like to think of as the best flavors of winter: sweet potatoes, squash, beans, etc. It’s almost like a glorified version of pasta fagioli (Italian ham and bean soup), but maybe that would be taking it a little bit too far ;). Although it is chock full of delicious flavor, it is also very healthy for you. It’s full of vitamins and protein. It’s perfect on a cold, snowy day. Which, by the way, can I tell you how jealous I am of all you guys in the Northeast (and up in the Northern states) getting slammed with snow! Ugh! It’s 60 degrees here today! Oh, Colorado weather. You are so unpredictable. Anyway, I hope all of you have a great weekend. Stay warm out there!
Recipe Fun Facts:
For a vegetarian version:
1. Eliminate the ham. After you have heated up the oil, just throw the veggies straight into the pot, and follow the directions from there.
2. Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth. This should be a fairly easy substitution.
For a gluten-free version:
1. Eliminate the pasta all together. You don’t even need to substitute it for anything else. This soup is great with or without the pasta.
Beer: 21st Amendment’s Back in Black IPA
Brewed By: 21st Amendment
Style: Black IPA
Description: I wanted a hoppy, yet slightly malty beer for this pairing, and this brew does just that. It is bold and hearty. It is great on a cool evening, and with a hearty bowl of soup. It’s perfectly smooth; and although it is quite bitter, it isn’t out of control, knock you on your feet bitter. It’s a great pairing with the most hearty of dishes.
I just had to. Isn’t he the cutest thing ever!? He brings warmth into my heart <3.