Winter Minestrone

It is hard to believe Thanksgiving has come and gone. I am still counting my blessings this Sunday morning as I have so much to be thankful for. My family has been struggling through a difficult task, and I continue to be amazed at the kindness and thoughtfulness of others. Even people who do not know me very well have shed their love upon my family and me. I have been truly humbled these past few weeks, especially as a person who thinks she can do it all on her own. Well, I’ve learned I most certainly cannot.

This recipe is perfect to make for someone who may be struggling with something in their life. It is amazing what a home cooked meal from a friend or stranger can do for morale. You think for a moment that everything will work out. Food is powerful, especially when it is made with love and consideration. Enjoy and share this comforting recipe that will warm your soul indeed.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 8-10 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 20 oz. Northern white kidney beans
  • 2 14 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 2½ t. garlic powder
  • 2 t. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 t. salt
  • ½ t. pepper
  • ½ t. dried basil
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked small macaroni
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Instructions

  1. Saute onion and garlic in butter and olive oil in a large pot until onions are translucent, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Next, add broth, 1 can of Northern white kidney beans, 1 can of diced tomatoes, and all liquid from the cans.
  3. Then, stir in garlic powder, tomato paste, parsley, salt, pepper, and dried basil.
  4. Cook on medium-low heat for 1½ hours.
  5. Remove ½ of the soup into a food processor and blend until smooth, or pulse an immersion blender for several minutes throughout the entire soup.
  6. Pour blended soup back into the pot if you used a food processor.
  7. Add remaining cans of Northern beans and diced tomatoes, fresh spinach, fresh basil (reserve some for garnish), cooked macaroni, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese. Stir.
  8. Continue to cook on medium-low heat for ½ hour.
  9. Serve warm with crusty bread!