Colds are spreading like rapid fire through Aggieland. My defense mechanism is covering my mouth and breathing in my sleeve when I near a person sneezing, coughing, or sniffling. I know this may look a little rude to the poor sick individual, however, I just can’t risk coming down with the flu or something worse. If I got really sick, I may be out of school for weeks, and may not get the grades I need. So really, at the risk of looking rude, I will take the consequences and spare myself weeks of lying in bed sipping on soup…although I’m not convinced that part of being sick would be entirely bad. Aside from my love of sleeping, I adore soups. Especially around this time of the year. Recently I stumbled upon a great winter minestrone; the perfect cure for any kind of cold you or your roommate may have caught or the perfect solution to a grumbling tummy.
If you are one of those people who like to watch their figure…ok fine sometimes I fall into this category…you can cut out the pasta which will not only reduce your calorie intake but will also take out the main source of carbs in the soup. If you do opt for the noodles, keep them separate from the rest of the soup until you are ready to serve. This keeps the pasta from turning mushy.
The recipe I’m about to reveal to you serves six to eight people, or if you live alone, it makes six to eight meals! Which means an entire week of dinner! Awesome!
1/2 onion, cut up into 1/2 inch pieces
2 stalks celery, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 bulb fennel, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T olive oil
1-35 oz. can whole tomatoes, lightly crushed
8 C chicken stock
1-15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 t red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 bunches Swiss Chard leaves, thinly sliced
2 C short pasta
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
The first step is to heat the oil on the stove in a deep pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, fennel, potatoes and garlic. Continue to cook on medium high heat for about five minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally.
Add tomatoes and their juices, stock and cannellini beans to the pot. Season the soup with two teaspoons of salt and one half of a teaspoon of pepper. Turn the heat up to high heat and bring the soup to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another ten minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Stir in vinegar and Swiss chard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Prepare the pasta (whatever kind you choose) to al dente, following the directions on the package. To serve, divide the pasta evenly between bowls and ladle the soup over it. For decoration (and a yummy kick) top the soup with cheese.
After decorating, your masterpiece is ready to be served immediately! (You don’t want the heat to escape.)