Minestrone Soup

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3 stalks celery washed and cut into small dice
2 large carrots peeled and cut into small dice
1 onion, chopped  
4 cloves fresh garlic peeled and chopped finely
2 parsnips peeled and cut into small dice
1 large leek split, washed and cut into small dice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 16-ounce can San Marzano diced tomatoes
4 quarts chicken stock
1 cup dried orzo pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup freshly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 tablespoon fresh picked thyme
¼ cup freshly chopped marjoram

In a large heavy-bottom pot over medium heat, add extra-virgin olive oil, celery, onion, carrots, garlic, parsnips and leek. Season with salt and pepper and sweat until vegetables are either translucent or release their aroma. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and pasta. Gently simmer for 30 minutes or so until the vegetables are soft. Adjust seasoning and let cool. Add the herbs to finish. When serving, add fresh olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Serves 8 to 10.

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