Sunday, March 07, 2010

Vegan Spinach-laced Minestrone (without Beans)

There is no photographic trace left of this soup, but I promise you that it looks as good as it tastes. This recipe makes four hefty main-course servings.
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 celery stalks, diced

4 small (or two large) zucchini, cut in any way you choose

1 28 oz can crushed or petite diced tomatoes
1 4 oz can tomato paste
2 tablespoons pesto (I used a homemade mixture of pulverized basil leaves, garlic, and olive oil)
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup tiny pasta (like Acini di pepe, Occhi di pernice, or Stellette: you can find a visual encyclopedia here)

2 teaspoons fennel seeds crushed slightly, and tied up in a cheesecloth sachet

1 pound fresh spinach for every two people (so if you are making this for four people to eat at once, use two pounds of spinach, and if you are making this to be consumed over more than one meal by two people, use one pound for each meal).
Heat the oil in a soup pot, and cook the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery on medium heat for ten minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for another two or three minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, pesto, and pasta. Toss in the sachet, and simmer for 25 minutes. Make sure to stir the soup from time to time so that the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. You can do this hours ahead of time.

When you are just about ready to serve put some olive oil in the bottom of another large pot, and saute the spinach for a few minutes. Place some spinach in the bottom of each soup bowl, and ladle the soup on top of the spinach. A little pepper is nice, but this soup really doesn't need any extra salt. I imagine that this soup would be really nice with escarole as well as spinach.

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