24 December 2011

Merry, Merry Minestrone

This is the first year that Nate and I have spent Christmas in our own home. No traveling, no planning, no schedule. Nate's dad and stepmom are in town, so we are doing a bit of hosting, but the house feels comfortably full and happy.

Now that we have kids and we aren't traveling, I decided to start some of our own traditions, which include a mishmash of our own family traditions. We are opening presents tonight. Santa will visit when everyone is in bed, so we'll have more presents tomorrow morning (new tradition). The naughty and nice list has come in very handy this year. Benny is acutely aware that I have Santa on speed dial. I've made a few calls. Tomorrow we're smoking a ham for lunch and we'll go to a matinee of The Muppets (Nate's family tradition). Tonight we'll have some warm soup (my family tradition) and go out to see some lights in the neighborhood.

My mom always made potato soup, chili, and chicken noodle soup on Christmas Eve. I'm adding a twist to the Christmas soup tradition. We're making minestrone. It's hearty, it's fully of good stuff, and everyone loves it. Nate and I have been making this minestrone since we received a great vegetarian cookbook for our wedding. Enjoy the Merry, Merry Minestrone!

Merry, Merry Minestrone

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium sized potatoes, finely chopped
6 cups veggie broth
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 zucchini, chopped
1 lg. can chopped tomatoes
1 can white beans
3 tbsp. pesto sauce
salt and pepper

freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Heat oil, stir in onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for 3 minutes.

2. Add broth and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cook for 12 minutes.

3. Stir peas and zucchini and simmer for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cover the pan to simmer for 8 minutes.

4. About 10 minutes before serving, uncover the pan and add the beans. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pesto sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Voila! A relatively healthy, hearty Christmas soup. We're serving ours with some yummy bread. Can't wait to report out on our Christmas feast and activities! Have a great night!

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