Last Minute Minestrone

by Jennifer

I made this soup after realizing I had cranberry beans and a parmesan rind in the freezer, tomatoes on the counter, fresh basil growing in a pot on the back deck, and not a lot of time to make dinner.  And it was good!  Substitute the beans with your favorite (cannellini would be good), if you don’t happen to have cooked cranberry beans lurking in your freezer, too.  Parmesan rinds are a good way to add “umami” to a soup, especially a meatless one.  I served it with Challah, and arugula tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 medium-large carrots, chopped into uniformly-sized pieces
  • 1 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous, preferably whole wheat
  • 3 cups cooked beans
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I used Not – Chicken Soup I’d made earlier in the week)
  • parmesan rind
  • 2 cups chopped, seeded tomatoes (slice tomatoes in half, squeeze out seeds, chop)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add celery and carrots and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Stir in Israeli couscous and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add beans, broth and parmesan rind;  bring soup to a boil, lower heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in tomatoes, basil and pepper.  Serve with freshly grated cheese on top.

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