Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Easy Minestrone

Phew is it hot here.  We have 100 degree weather today.  Isn't it supposed to be Spring still?

I know I'm not ready for summer...I've barely put my sweaters away! 

Even though it's boiling hot, I still find myself eating a bowl of soup.  Especially if it is a quick and easy soup that I can prepare on a weeknight.  I don't know about you, but sometimes I don't have that much time to cook, not to mention the gumption to do so!

This soup is done from start to finish in 30 minutes flat!  With help from some canned items you may already have in your pantry this soup is easy to put together.  This variation of a rich Italian Minestrone soup is so delicious.  I used to think that you need to cook soup all day to get that rich flavor.  Not true!  By using highly flavored ingredients they allow you to build flavorful layers quickly.  

There are many variations of this soup out there.  Most use kidney beans as a base.  This one uses garbanzo beans, which lend a nice subtle flavor and pack plenty of protein.  Yellow bell pepper lends a nice bite along with some crunch, and the spinach is a good way to get some greens in to your dish.  They all blend together so well.  Top this with some ricotta salata if you choose, or a couple of croutons would be fabulous.

Serve it with a nice Italian Garden salad and a piece of crusty bread and you are set.  The family will love it!

How easy was that?

Easy Minestrone

Adapted from BHG

Serves: 4
Time: 30 mins

2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 14 - 15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1 14.oz can of low sodium chicken broth
¾ c yellow sweet bell pepper, chopped
3 t Italian seasoning
1 c dry penne pasta
2 - 3 cups baby spinach
Ricotta Salata (optional)

In a Dutch oven combine the tomatoes, water, beans, broth, sweet pepper, seasoning, and pasta. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until pasta is barely tender.

Stir in spinach. Allow to wilt for several minutes. Ladle into soup bowls. Top with Ricotta Salata cheese.

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