Mike has been enjoying the soups and chili I have made. He had suggested the split pea and his next suggestion was minestrone. I realized that between my pantry and freezer I could make a pretty good version of minestrone via my Southern roots and California home. I think minestrone is one of those soups where there as many versions as there are cooks in Italy so this is my version.
I used the canned beans I had in the pantry and the frozen veggies I had in the freezer. I used a Parmesan rind and anchovy paste to add richness and depth for unami. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami for an explanation.
Check out this article in Prevention magazine about not using canned tomatoes. Try using Pomi tomatoes in the tetra packs if you don't have your own canned tomatoes. http://www.prevention.com/7foodsthatshouldnever/list/1.shtml
I also like the idea of using chilis for the health benefits of capsaicin.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 can pinto beans or whatever is in your pantry, rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups tomato puree
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
12 ounces pasta
4 Italian turkey sausages, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 inch piece Parmesan rind
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 cup red wine
Heat the olive oil and add the onion. Saute until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook until soft and fragrant.
Add the beans, chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add vegetables. Return to a boil and add the pasta. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until the pasta is tender. If you are not going to eat the soup that night turn off the heat and let the pot sit until it cools down. When you reheat the soup the pasta will cook completely.
We ate it with crusty bread and the rest of the red wine. Enjoy!