Kitchen Sink Soup aka Minestrone

Excessive opening of a refrigerator should be ...

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Growing up, our fridge was always full of left overs and various vegetable odds and ends that my mother was planning on cooking into something delicious.  Inevitably these items would make their way into one of two dishes: Refrigerator Pasta or Kitchen Sink Soup.  The recipes were easy.  For the pasta it was just a matter of combining whatever cooked odd shaped pasta (whole wheat multicolored rotini and shells were particularly popular) we had in the pantry with various, on the verge of spoiling, vegetables from the veggie drawer, garlic, miscellaneous cheese and voila! dinner is served.  The results were mixed, sometimes delicious and others terrifying. Kitchen Sink Soup was basically the same thing only with less pasta and the whole thing was immersed in water or broth.

Over the intervening years I have realized that this experience is not unique to my family.  Most children of home cooks speak of mysterious casseroles and scary goulashes.

Recently I started researching minestrone soup recipes.  Low-fat healthy and delicious, it seemed the perfect foil for cool and damp fall evenings.  I looked at Food Network and Saveur, Googled and checked blogs.  What I found is that no two recipes are the same, sometimes a single chef would publish two or three versions of this simple recipe.  So here is my theory, minestrone is simply Italian for Kitchen Sink Soup,  its a throw everything in the pot, cook it till delicious and call it dinner recipe.

So here is my version, feel free to add any veggie you have that’s ready to spoil in your fridge too.

Minestrone Soup

Large carrot

Celery stalk

1 small to medium onion

3 garlic cloves

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 small to medium zucchini

3 small red potatoes

1 bunch kale (or whatever green leafy vegetable you have)

1 can cannalini beans

1 can kidney beans

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 large can of crushed plum tomatoes (28 oz.) juice reserved

pinch of rosemary





chop your carrots, onions, celery, and garlic and add them to a large soup pot with the olive oil.  Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the kitchen begins to smell delicious.  Quarter zucchini and cut into 1/4 inch slices add to the pot.  Do the same with the potatoes.  Stem kale and roughly chop or slice into 1/2 in pieces add to the onion mixture. Add red wine. Coarsely chop the canned tomatoes and add them and their reserved liquid to the pot.  Add enough water to cover the ingredients by about an inch and cook over low/medium heat for about a 1/2 hour or until the potatoes are cooked through.

Dump both cans of bean into a colander and rinse (this removes the liquid which often contains sugar or corn syrup),  add to the pot.  Cook another few minutes. Add salt, pepper and rosemary to taste.

Serve hot with a dollop of pesto on top, crusty bread and the remaining wine.


Most of the ingredients are optional and changeable but don’t omit the pesto.  This last moment seasoning creates a binding flavor for the broth and adds the richness that otherwise would be missed.  Pesto is easy to make, relatively inexpensive to buy and can be kept in the freezer forever.  It also makes a great sauce for refrigerator pasta.





~ by whatsheeats on November 10, 2010.

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