Winter is (obviously!) a great time of year for hearty, warming soups. This Italian classic can be made with fresh vegetables from your garden in the summer, or with fresh or frozen vegetables any time of year. Add potatoes or elbow pasta, and if you want protein (besides the beans) you can add chicken or beef. While there are some basics for it to be a classic, this recipe is a great base for soup in general, so have at it and add whatever you want!
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, diced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 stalks Celery, diced – include leaves if you want – they have great flavor
2 Carrots, peeled and diced
1 can Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans Crushed or Diced Tomatoes (or use the equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes puréed in a food processor)
6 C Chicken Broth (or vegetable broth if you want vegetarian or vegan soup, or beef broth if you want it a bit more hearty)
1 ½ C Frozen (or fresh) Peas, Green Beans, or other vegetable (broccoli? cauliflower?)
2-3 Medium Potatoes OR 1 C Elbow Pasta
1 teasp each Dried Basil, Oregano, Thyme or any other herbs you like
Salt & Pepper to taste
Fresh Basil, chopped
Fresh Parmesan, grated
- Heat the olive oil and add the chopped onion. Saute until the onions start becoming translucent, and then add the garlic. Saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the carrots and celery, and heat for another 5 minutes, then add any other veggies you want. If you are using potatoes, add them now.
- Add tomatoes and broth, herbs and salt & pepper. (Remember, if you are using a broth that has salt in it, make sure you taste before adding more salt.)
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add in the beans and pasta (if using) and cook about another 10 minutes until the pasta and vegetables are tender.
- Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary.
- Serve with a sprinkling of fresh basil and grated fresh parmesan cheese.
This soup is lovely served with warmed crusty bread or homemade rolls or biscuits.
If you want to add ground beef (or turkey or pork) add this with the onions, but drain the fat before adding the garlic and other ingredients.
If you want to add roast chicken or other cooked meat, add it in with the beans and pasta.
Whole Wheat Rolls (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
There’s nothing like a soft warm roll fresh from the oven – either with soup or salad, or just on it’s own. I really don’t need to say anything more…
1 C Whole Milk (heated to about 115°F)
2 ¼ teasp Yeast
½ C Butter (one stick), at room temperature
? C Honey
2 Large Eggs
½ teasp Salt
3 ½ C Whole Wheat Flour
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl) pour the warm milk over the yeast. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 5 minutes.The mixture should become frothy.
On low speed, with the dough hook (or by hand) mix in the butter – it will not fully mix in at this point, and that’s ok!
Add the honey, eggs and salt, and beat on medium speed.
On low speed, mix in the flour gradually, about a ½ cup at a time.
When all the flour has been added, beat on medium-high speed for another 6-7 minutes, until a dough forms. (If it’s still super sticky, add a little more flour about a tablespoon at a time, but don’t add too much!) The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl. At this point, gently poke the dough – if it bounces back it’s ready.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead by hand for 2-3 minutes. (If you are doing this all by hand, you will want to knead for a total of about 10 minutes.)
Lightly coat the inside of the bowl with oil, and place the dough back in, coating the dough with oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place somewhere warm until doubled in size – about 1.5 – 2 hours. (Whole wheat has less gluten, so it takes longer to rise.)
Lightly grease the inside of the baking dish, and set aside.
When the dough is ready to go, punch it down to deflate the air bubbles, and transfer onto a lightly floured surface.
Using your hands, flatten the dough so it’s about the size of the baking dish (9” x 13”).
Cut the dough into 15 evenly sized pieces. (3×5) Gently form the pieces into balls and place into the baking dish. Cover with a towel and again allow to rise until about doubled – an hour or so.
Preheat the oven to 375°F
When the rolls are ready to bake, place them in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. If they seem to be browning too fast, cover loosely with a piece of foil.
Allow rolls to cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Serve warm with butter!