Friday, March 11, 2011

Minestrone Soup

My mom and I were lucky to both have a day with nothing to do recently. This is quite a rarity for us since we are both always running around all day and never have spare time at the same time. We decided to some cooking because we had a busy week ahead and knew some nights could quickly turn to pizza or take out (not that I mind those nights on occasion). We made a double batch of this minestrone soup, so we would have plenty for the busy nights. This soup recipe is one of my family's favorites that has been passed down from my Mom's Mom. I hope that you and your family enjoy it as much as we do!

12 cups water
2 1/2 cups dried navy beans
1 1/2 cups of dried northern beans
6 strips low-sodium bacon, chopped
6 tbsp olive oil
2 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 stalks of celery, sliced
4 small carrots, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 quarts hot water
1/2 cup pre-cooked rice
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup tomato paste
Pecorino Romano, grated for topping
oyster crackers, for garnish

1. Bring 12 cups of water to boil in a large sauce pot. Add the beans gradually to keep the water boiling.
2. Simmer beans for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Set aside to soak an hour and a half.

3. Add bacon to the pot of beans and return to medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low whiling stirring occasionally.

4. While beans are simmering, heat olive oil in skillet and cook the onions and garlic just until browned, then set aside.

5. After beans have simmered one hour, add onions, garlic, celery, carrots, potatoes, parsley, salt and pepper. Slowly pour in two quarts of hot water and simmer about two hours until beans are tender.

6. Meanwhile, cook rice traditionally. When the soup is almost done cooking, add in rice and peas. Cook another 10 minutes or so until the peas are tender, then stir in tomato paste. Simmer another ten minutes and remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese and crackers.

Approx. 10-12 servings

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