Blizzard 2018, A.K.A. Winter Storm Grayson, is rapidly making his presence known. We are hunkered down and currently, as always, I’m the only one awake planning how and what to eat today. There’s no where to go and as long as the electric stays on warm satisfied food will be prepared. My plan is to make Sun-Dried Tomato Minestrone Soup, A.K.A. Spring in a bowl. Now, I could cook it quickly on the stove, but I want to smell its warmth all day, so the crock pot it will be. If I was in a hurry, I’d probably Instantpot it, but today we aren’t going anywhere. Maybe I’ll even make some Rosemary Focaccia Bread to go with it! We will see….I have plenty of Ciabatta Rolls.
Gather your ingredients.
In large crock pot, Add ingredients listed from the tomatoes to basil.
After the broth is added, it looks like this. Put the lid on and set time for 4 hours on high. As a side note. vegetable broth works well here which would entitle this to a vegetarian or Meatless Monday status. Beef broth or a combination can also be used. To be honest, I had to use a combination here since I didn’t realize I was running low on the vegetable base. After chilling, you may desire to add a little more broth as the ingredients soak up a little broth when it cools down. If you wanted a little more kick to it, you could add some crumbled Italian sausage. Hmmm… I might do that with some of the leftovers
When that cooking cycle is up, add in the kidney beans, cannellini beans, pasta, zucchini and green beans. Set it back on the high setting for about 30 minutes. Check for pasta doneness. adjust time if needed. Add in the baby spinach/ kale mix and allow to wilt within soup. This takes about 5 minutes.
Wish you could smell this warm, inviting pot of soup. In this form, it should be ready to ladle up into bowls and top with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and maybe more basil chiffonade. What is basil chiffonade? Stack some basil leaves on top of one another. Roll them up and slice thinly. It reveals thin strips of basil to either add to the soup as I did, or garnish when done. While soup is finishing up, separate the ciabatta rolls and brush with olive oil. Toast in the convection toaster oven, if you have one. It works great and uses less electricity than the big oven. We are already dreading our electric bill from this cold spell, so I will compensate as needed; a prepared crock pot dinner and toast from toaster oven. Rub a peeled garlic clove over the top and, if desired, as it was here, more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. You can place them back in to melt the cheese or just serve as is. If the rolls are still warm, it will probably melt anyway.
This was a great accompaniment to this Sun-Dried Tomato Minestrone Soup . I’m glad there are leftovers! With the temperatures plummeting outside, I’m not going anywhere! Plus, the microwave, which uses little electricity, will be put to use!
- 2- 14.5 oz. cans of Fire-Roasted tomatoes
- 8.5 oz Julienne Cut Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Herbs~California Sun-Dry brand, drained and chopped
- Rind from outer edge of Parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- 2 quarts of vegetable or beef broth or 1 quart. of each(Better Than Bouillon Vegetable or Roasted Beef Base is great!- I used 3 T. base for 2 quarts.
- 1½ c. carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1½ c. diced celery
- 1 c. finely diced red onion
- 6 garlic cloves pressed or peeled and finely diced
- 1 t. dried oregano
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 T . basil chiffonade or 2 t. dried basil
- 15 oz. red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 15 oz. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1½ c. small shells or ditalini
- 1½ c. green beans. frozen or fresh
- 1 small zucchini quartered lengthwise then sliced or zoodled and cut into small segments to disguise it for the young ones
- 5 oz. baby spinach/kale mix
- Ciabatta bread prepared as indicated in instructions below.
- Place all ingredients from tomatoes to basil chiffonade into crock pot. Cook on high for about 4 hours.
- Add in the kidney beans, cannelloni beans. green beans, pasta shells, and zucchini. Cook for another 30 minutes.
- Add spinach/kale mix and cook until wilted.
- Remove bay leaves, rosemary sprig and cheese rind before serving.
- Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese.
- Brush olive oil on ciabatta bread and lightly toast. This can be done in a toaster oven at the end of the soup's cooking cycle. Rub with peeled garlic cloves. If desired, grate a little cheese over top and place back in toaster oven just until melted.