Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Main dish minestrone

When I was a little girl, my dad made three things really, really well: pancakes, spaghetti sauce, and main dish minestrone.  The original recipe for the minestrone I think came out of a Canadian Living magazine, and was a staple in our house... until it was misplaced. No more minestrone.

A couple of years ago, I asked my dad about that recipe and he said he could barely remember it. I guess it only really imprinted on me, but I have craved it on and off for YEARS.  Every so often, I would do a quick google search and come up with nothing.  That is, until recently.  My googling finally paid off and I found what I think is the Exact. Same. Recipe. on Food.com, submitted by a reader.

I'm telling you, I did a little dance right there, and made it that night.  It tasted every bit as good as I remember!

There are many, many wonderful things for the boonies cook in this recipe: you can change the veggies you use, you can change the beans you use, you can take out the beans, you can add barley or lentils... you get the point.  It's one of those recipes that everyone needs when they haven't been shopping in a week and there's a snowstorm outside. 

So thank you bert for posting this longed-for recipe!  I owe you one!

Recipe Notes:

The original recipe calls for Italian sausage, but dad always used regular old pork breakfast sausages.  They don't slice very well, so I cook them first, then fish them out and slice them up.  You can replace the beans with any other beans, or leave them out entirely.  You can replace the pasta with barley, or add barley along with the pasta (mmm, carbs).  On the second day, the pasta and barley will soak up more liquid and it will be like a thick stew... still delicious!

Main Dish Minestrone

(Originally from Canadian Living (maybe?), posted on Food.com by bert)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 lb sausage, sliced or crumbled
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (or 19 oz can)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup cooked or canned kidney bean
  • 1/2 cup elbow macaroni (or other pasta)
Heat the butter and oil over medium heat and saute the sausages until brown and firm.  Retrieve from the pan and slice them into 1" sections, then return them to the pan. Add the onion, garlic and veggies and saute until soft. Stir in the herbs and spices.

Stir in the tomatoes and stock.  If you're using canned tomatoes, pour the liquid in too and decrease the stock to 3 1/2 cups. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the cabbage, bean and macaroni (or substitutes) and simmer for 30 minutes. You can add more broth at this point if it's too thick for your liking - it will thicken even more as it cools. 
Serve with some crusty bread!