Tuesday, August 25, 2009


One of the favorite things I remember about my dad was his cooking. He may not have cooked every day, and he had a strange habit of combining all of the leftovers in the fridge, tossing them onto a bed of lettuce and dousing it with vinaigrette to make an everything salad... but when he wanted to, he could COOK. His two specialties were Minestrone soup and pasta sauce. Both have a lot of fresh ingredients, and both take pretty much all day simmering on the stove to reach their full deliciousness.
On Sunday, I decided that the time had come for his minestrone to be made again. My decision was heavily influenced by the recent acquisition of a food processor as a wedding gift from Ethan's parents, which made the large amounts of chopped fresh veggies slightly less scary.
We had Ethan's parents over for dinner and ate the soup with crusty, buttered warm french bread and a salad. It was just as delicious as I remembered it, and cooking, smelling, and tasting was such a wonderful reminder of my dad.

Minestrone Soup
(this is a LARGE portion! it was very nearly too much for my 8 quart pot. It makes about 16 meal-sized servings.)

10 cups water + 10 beef bouillon cubes
1 lb beef ribs
Olive oil/butter
2T minced garlic
3/4 head chopped cabbage
1 bunch chopped carrots
1 stalk chopped celery
2 large chopped onions
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 peeled, cubed baking potatoes
4 sliced zucchinis
9 oz frozen green beans
2T Parsley flakes
0.5 T oregano
1T Basil
Pepper to taste

1. Boil beef ribs in water with bouillon cubes for 30 minutes.
2. While beef ribs are boiling, sautee garlic in butter/olive oil 2-3 minutes.
3. Add cabbage, carrots, celery, onions. Sautee 10 minutes or until onions are tender.
4. Add 2 cans tomatoes and simmer 10-15 minutes.
5. Add beef mixture and let simmer 5 mins.(I took ribs out at this point because of pot space; If you have a larger pot, you can leave the ribs in until the very end)
6. Add potatoes, zucchinis, green beans, seasoning. Bring mixture to a boil and then bring down to a simmer for 20 minutes.
I left this on the stove on low for a good 30 minutes to an hour more until we were ready to eat. I think it just made it better.

This soup made me realize how tired I am of the summer. I want cool weather! I want to wear sweaters and eat chili. And pumpkin pie milkshakes from Wild about Harry's. Yum.

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