I wouldn’t call my minestrone “traditional”. I prefer to think of it as Kitchen Sink Minestrone. Everything but the aforementioned kitchen sink went into it. My ultimate goal was to make something that would pass as edible, while being healthier than the majority of my recent meals. Healthier than Tuna Helper? Unbelievable, I know.
My final ingredient list was:
1 ½ tbsp of minced garlic
About 1 cup of frozen Southern-style hash browns
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
5 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 quarts of water
14 oz can of corn
14 oz can of chickpeas
2 oz elbow macaroni
8 oz of frozen peas
5 cubes of frozen chopped basil (5 tsp)
I heated 3 tbsp of oil in my 7 quart Dutch oven, since I figured I would end up making a very large amount of soup. I quickly cooked the garlic, and then added the hash browns. Right from the freezer. Why thaw? Then I dumped in the tomatoes, chickpeas, corn and the water. I crumbled the bouillon cubes right into the soup. I know they say to dissolve them in the water, but that’s really just an extra step. I brought this to a boil, then reduced it to a simmer and covered it.
After about 30 minutes of cooking, I added the macaroni, which proceeded to stick to the bottom of the pan. Rather than stir the soup, I had to scrape it. Eh, it won’t affect the flavor, and I’m probably the only one who’ll be eating it. I covered the pot again and let it cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring/scraping occasionally. I then added the peas and the basil. Again, right from the freezer. I let it cook another 5-10 minutes, adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper, and decided that enough had gone into it.
One final note. I rarely use spell check, but decided to give it a go today. Spell check was not pleased with my use of "oooh" and recommended that I change it to "pooh". Thanks, spell check!
“Cold soup is a very tricky thing and it is the rare hostess who can carry it off. More often than not the dinner guest is left with the impression that had he only come a little earlier he could’ve gotten it while it was still hot."