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By Karin Calloway
How do you satisfy your family’s craving for something hot and hearty on a busy weeknight? You could reach for the can opener, and heat up a can of soup. But with about 30 minutes and a few ingredients you could whip up my Minute Minestrone.
Minestrone soup is a traditional Italian soup that marries a tomato base with loads of vegetables. While my version usually includes browned Italian sausage, I’ve deleted it from the recipe here for a vegetarian soup. However, feel free to add eight ounces of browned Italian sausage before simmering the soup.
My rendition of this classic soup takes advantage of convenience products including canned beef broth and Italian seasoned diced tomatoes. The seasoned tomatoes are packed with flavor, so there’s no need to peruse the pantry for spices.
Minestrone soup will usually require some serious time at the chopping board. Instead of taking the long route, I add a bag of frozen vegetables to the soup and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
While the soup simmers, I boil some frozen cheese tortellini in another pot. You could add it to the soup with the vegetables, but I cook it separately so that the tortellini doesn’t absorb too much liquid. The cooked tortellini is added to each bowl of soup before serving.
A can of rinsed and drained white beans can be added to make a heartier soup. And, a loaf of crusty bread is all you’ll need to complete the meal.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta water boils, spray a Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Crumble the sausage into the skillet, add the onions and saute over medium-high heat until the sausage is browned and the onions are golden. Add the beef broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the frozen vegetables and beans, if desired; reduce heat and simmer 10 to 12 minutes.
To serve, place some of the tortellini in the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle the soup over the top.
Makes 6 servings.