Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Minestrone Alla Tuscana

It's not very photogenic but I promise you it's delicious and filling. Just the sort of thing to come home to after working two jobs and getting a ticket for failure to remove 8 inches of ice from a side walk no one ever uses. If someone at the Madison streets department would like to come over and tell us how to do such a thing with out super powers I would be curious to know. I figure it should be included in the $182 dollar ticket. As it was the fella and our duplex neighbor were outside with ice picks and 75 pounds of salt and sand until 1AM so as not to get a repeat offender violation. Oh the bureaucracy.

Days like these I really thank the heavens for comfort food and a fella that cooks for me on my long days. This soup was definitely the high point of the day. The half hour of no work and no winter weather drama during which I filled my weary belly with this warm meal was the only pleasant bit.

It's from the Silver Spoon Cookbook which is swiftly becoming my favorite for recipes these days. Besides chopping and boiling it really takes no effort. It took so little effort and was so ugly and beige he figured it was going to be inedible mush and was a little sad about spending time on it. He changed his tune after the first bite. It really does need a make over but aside from that it's perfect, lots of veggies and for having so little in it the soup manages to have a nice zing to it. Must be the rosemary and pepper.

We'll be making this again soon. Next time I'll probably forgo taking pictures of it at work though. People at the office job already think I'm crazy without the photo shoots with my food. It's not that they're wrong I just don't want to get them any more evidence to work with.

Minestrone Alla Toscana

½ cup cannellini beans, soaked over night and drained(or one can, retain liquid for cooking)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley
1 head escarole (or any bitter green, he used a couple handfuls of spinach)
1 tomato, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 leek, white part only, chopped
½ cup brown rice

Put beans, rosemary and bay leaf in sauce pot, add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer about 2 hours, then discard herbs. (If you're using canned beans, you can obviously skip this step and just add the herbs to the soup and discard them in the end.) Place about half of them and the starchy water in food processor to puree.

In soup pot heat oil over low heat. Add onion, celery, and parsley, cook stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add escarole, tomato, zucchini, and leek, cook for another 10 minutes. Stir the bean puree and remaining beans into soup pot, season with salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover the vegetables or to make your preferred soup consistency.  Bring to a boil, add rice and cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is al dente.

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