Sunday, August 31, 2014

Farmers' Market Minestrone with White Beans for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

In case you are one of those 'no soup in the summer people'-- The August/September issue of Fine Cooking Magazine emphatically backs up my own 'soup for all seasons' philosophy saying, "In Italy, they eat soup in summer (and so should you)." Pointing out that summer is the time when prime soup vegetables are abundant and that summer soups, served the Italian way--just warmed or at room temperature rather than piping hot, fit in with summer weather. I fully support this and their tempting recipe for a Farmers' Market Minestrone to which I switched up some veggies and added beans for an extra protein boost.

Fine Cooking says, "The word minestrone means “big soup” in Italian, and that’s just what this is: a richly flavored, chunky vegetable and-pasta soup.This version is in bianco, which is to say, white, or without tomato. Feel free to add a couple of diced peeled plum tomatoes, if you like."

Farmers' Market Minestrone 
Adapted from Domenica Marchetti from Fine Cooking, Issue 130
(Serves 6)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 Tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

(I added 1 baby fennel bulb and two mini bell peppers) 
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large red potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Kernels from 1 ear fresh corn
6 to 8 cups lower-salt vegetable or chicken broth (I used mock-chicken broth)
1 cup dried tubetti or small pasta shells

(I added two cups total garbanzo and cannellini beans)
1/2 oz (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Warm the oil in a 5-quart heavy-duty pot over medium-low heat. When it’s warm—not hot—add the celery, carrots, garlic, onion, and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the carrots have begun to soften, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the eggplant, potato, yellow squash, zucchini, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring often (the potato tends to stick to the bottom of the pot), until the vegetables are tender but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the corn and 6 cups of the broth; bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, partially cover, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Return to a boil and stir in the pasta. Simmer, stirring once or twice, until the pasta is al dente or even a little bit more tender; cooking time will depend on the shape and brand of pasta you use. Add more broth to thin the soup, if you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano and basil. Let cool to warm or room temperature before serving; the soup will thicken as it cools. Serve with additional grated Parmigiano at the table.

Notes/Results: Such a satisfying and summery bowl of soup! I love all of the veggies-a good blend of sweet, crisp, creamy and savory. I think the beans were a good addition, with the pasta they make the soup more of a meal. I ended up using about 9 cups of broth because my zucchini and yellow squash were large and I used more potato. Still, this is a very thick, almost chowder-like soup--which I like. You could leave off the cheese to make it vegan, but the Parmigiano and basil do add a great layer of flavor to the soup. I waited until the soup cooled to room temp before adding them. I like this soup slightly warmer than room temp, but not hot--it allows the flavors to really come out. A great way to eat the rainbow and get your veggies in--summer in a bowl. I would make it again.

We have some great friends and their dishes waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's take a look.

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog shares a soup that's good at any any temperature, her Homemade Tomato Soup. Judee says, "You  can serve this delightful summer soup with a variety of toppings. It can be topped with a little Parmesan cheese, some sour cream or Greek yogurt,  perhaps even some creme fraiche, or just blended with some warm heavy cream. According to your preferences, add  dairy or dairy substitutes like coconut milk if you prefer. My husband was the one who discovered that this soup it is also excellent chilled. In fact, we really liked it that way- a lot!!"

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes is here with Grilled Eggplant and Mint Salad and says, "This salad was everything I imagined it would be. The eggplant and the fennel paired beautifully and the cheese balanced it so well. I used this as a side dish with some simple grilled chicken, but it would actually make a lovely light dinner or lunch salad all on it’s own."

Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe is back, sharing this pretty Strawberry, Haloumi and Greens Salad. She says, "By the time I drove home I was exhausted. Fortunately I had planned my dinner before I left home. It was just a matter of throwing together the remnants from the vegie tulips, some spinach and strawberries that needed using and frying the rest of the haloumi I opened for lunch the previous day. I made a simple vinaigrette. A fresh and healthy salad was just what I needed."

Janet of The Taste Space brings a healthy Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl and says, "A multi-component, main dish salad with a spinach base, filled with cucumber and blueberries, beefed up with Ginger Beer tofu and topped with sticky, sweet & savoury almonds with Chinese 5-spice. ... The star of the salad, other than the big blueberries, were the Chinese 5-spiced glazed almonds which were perfectly balanced with the tamari, agave and the Chinese 5-spice imparted an interesting edge that I did not expect to taste so good." 

Here at Kahakai Kitchen, it was a soup, salad and sammie kind of week as in addition to the above soup, I made delicious versions of a salad and a sandwich that are worth being shared again. ;-) 

First, I fell in deep lust with Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian's Tomato & Bocconcini Caprese while watching The Kitchen last weekend. The ingredients are simply and with a little extra prep effort (peeling the skin off of the tomatoes) it is a stunning salad and one of the best Caprese salads I have eaten. Such great flavor in every bite. I got more tomatoes at the farmers market to make it again.

A Meat-Free version of Nigel Slater's Bánh Mì (aka Sour, Hot, Crisp, Soft. A Sandwich for the Senses') was amazing with his simple pickled vegetables piled on top. So satisfying with all of the color, texture and flavors. The pickled veggies are positively addicting on their own and perfect combined with the garlicky, Five-spice soy crumbles. If you make your own fish sauce (I did not), you can make it vegan, but any way you make it, this one is a keeper.

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just check out the Super Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details. 

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Oh my goodness! As soon as I saw your post, I gave a huge frustrated sigh!!! Thank you for taking care of me :)

  2. I do my best! ;-)

  3. Agreed! Soup in the summer is AWESOME. I definitely want to make this before the farmer's market becomes filled with only roots and gourds!

  4. I need to take your advice and prepare more soups for the summer.


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