Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Soups of Summer

It's a warm and breezy summer day, bees buzzing in the garden and zucchini growing before my very eyes. I'm inspired to go into the kitchen and make… soup.

Who says soup is cold weather food? There's no better time to make soup than when the ingredients are at their prime.

One of my favourite summer soups is minestrone. The Italian recipe Bible The Silver Spoon lists ten versions of minestrone, including Minestrone alla Russa made with beets. (Read more in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix)

My version includes vegetables now in season in and around Saskatoon, either from my own garden or from the farmers' market. Have fun making it your own!

Minestrone alla Saskatchewan in July
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4 small zucchini
Bunch of baby carrots
Handful of green beans
Handful of edible pod peas
Bunch of baby spinach and chard
1/4 cup herbs: parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil
6 Roma-style tomatoes
2 cups cooked white beans
Salt and pepper
6 cups chicken broth (or water)
2 cups short pasta, cooked

Heat oil in a soup pot. Sauté onions and garlic until soft. Meanwhile, cut zucchini and carrots into rounds or half rounds, depending on their size. Chop green beans, peas, spinach and chard into bite-sized chunks. Add these vegetables to the pot.
Finely chop a mix of herbs, tasting it to ensure a pleasing balance. (Don't let the parsley overwhelm!) Stir the herbs into pot. Chop the tomatoes and add them with the beans. Season with 1 tsp salt and many grinds of pepper.
Cook until the vegetables and herbs are warm and fragrant. Add the broth and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and add more seasoning as needed.
To serve, place cooked noodles (I used little bowties) in each soup bowl and pour on the hot soup. It's quite Italian to sprinkle on a bit of Parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

JoyD said...

Ah but there is gazpacho with cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden. There is no better beginning to your preparation and subsequently to your meal. I have made several gazpachos while at a friend's home in Romans-sur-Isere and in Germany. Each time they were a little different and each time much appreciated since I was a guest who offered to "cook".

Have you ever tried cold "borscht" - that too is quite fabulous.

Believe it or not, I'm thinking of the snow and how beautiful it is . . . we have been experiencing 30+ weather for the past three weeks and of course, I don't dare complain.