I went on a bit of a preservation kick last week. Canned four quarts of applesauce. Made and froze fruit smoothies with the peaches and (yes) a cucumber on the far side of prime. Four quarts of quick, refrigerator pickles followed. Even pickled some beets. But the piece de resistance was the enormous batch of minestrone I made Friday night. I did a double batch and actually had to switch to the lobster pot to fit everything (twelve cups of water and all). The end result was the best vegetable soup I can remember making, though the lard I added probably didn’t hurt. So here it is. Simple and remarkably tasty.
Late Summer Minestrone
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (and two tablespoons rendered lard, if you want to go from good to oh my)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup fresh corn (about two ears)
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cored, chopped tomato (canned is fine; include juice)
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves, more for garnish
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving, optional.
1. Put 3 tablespoons oil in a large, deep saucepan or casserole over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion, carrots and zucchini. Cook, stirring, until onion softens and vegetables begin to caramelize, 10 minutes or so.
2. Add corn and beans; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two, then add 6 cups water and tomato; bring to a boil, then adjust heat so mixture bubbles gently. Cook, stirring every now and then, until vegetables are fairly soft and tomatoes broken up, about 15 minutes.
3. Add 1/2 cup basil and adjust heat once again so mixture simmers. Cook until all vegetables are very tender, 5 to 15 minutes longer. Taste and adjust seasoning, drizzle with remaining olive oil, and serve, passing basil and cheese at table.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
Recipe courtesy of the New York Times.
I’ve already frozen a few quarts of this…may have more to do tomorrow.