It’s not officially what I would call “soup season” yet, but the rainy weather has put me in the mood for soup. I love soup. My husband, on the other hand, is not crazy about it. He likes soup, but he says soup is an appetizer not an entire meal. I beg to differ, especially when you have a nice hearty soup with plenty of meat and vegetables. And you know how I adore a one-pot meal so soup definitely fits that bill for me.
I recently made this delicious minestrone in my Instant Pot. If you’re a regular reader of this column you may remember I recently got this new kitchen gadget, which is a pressure cooker. It cuts cooking time in half for things like stews and soups.
You can certainly make minestrone on the stove, but the Instant Pot speeds up the process a bit. I had never actually made a minestrone before. It has simple and hearty ingredients and was quite flavorful. I used some homegrown squash from our garden as well. Served with grilled cheese sandwiches, it was a perfect meal for a rainy afternoon.
Minestrone soup (original recipe from www.22recipe.com)
• 1 small onion about 1/3 cup, diced
• 2 cloves garlic minced
• 1 medium carrot about 1 cup, chopped
• 1 large celery stalk about 1 cup, chopped
• 2 teaspoons dried basil
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 32 oz can diced tomatoes I usually use fire-roasted or Italian-style
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 bay leaf
• 32-ounce carton 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
• Water — add only as much as needed to cover vegetables
• 1 medium zucchini around 2/3 cups, sliced into halves or quarters
• 1/4 cup canned or cooked red kidney beans drained and rinsed
• 1/4 cup canned or cooked cannellini beans or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
• 1/4 cup dried small shell pasta, use gluten-free if necessary, or leave out and add chopped potatoes or cauliflower instead
• 1 cup fresh baby spinach chopped
• 1/2 to 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, optional but adds great flavor
• Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese for serving
• Fresh parsley finely chopped, for garnish
FOR THE INSTANT POT VERSION:
Press the saute button on your instant pot and allow to heat up for 2 minutes. Add olive oil and saute onions and garlic for about three minutes, or until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients up to the water. Press Cancel then close the lid. Press the manual (older models) or pressure cook (newer models) button and set on high for three minutes. Turn the valve to Sealing. After the soup has finished cooking for the two minutes and the instant pot beeps, do a quick release by turning the valve to vent to release the pressure. Once the pressure is released, open the lid and add zucchini, all the beans, and the pasta. Press the saute button and cook for another five to six minutes, or until the pasta is tender and cooked. Stir in spinach and allow to sit until wilted. Add more water as needed if you like a thinner soup. Season with more salt and pepper as needed and stir in balsamic vinegar (if using) and serve warm with bread and top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley if desired.
FOR THE STOVETOP VERSION:
In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and onion and saute for about 4 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly softened. Add basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and cook for an additional one minute. Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, vegetable broth, water, zucchini and both of the beans. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir in the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked. Stir in the spinach and allow to wilt (about one to two minutes). Add more water as needed if you like a thinner soup. (***you can also cook the pasta directly with the soup but this soaks up more water so you may have to add more water. Just add the pasta after simmering for 20 minutes, then bring to a boil and allow to cook for another eight to 10 minutes or until pasta is tender.) Season with more salt and pepper as needed and stir in balsamic vinegar (if using) and serve warm with bread and top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley if desired.
Kitsey Burns Harrison is a reporter for The Yadkin Ripple. Here she shares her musings on food, life, love and motherhood. She can be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.