Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Phony Minestone

With the baby my cooking style is changing already. Gone are the days when I would linger over cooking dinner. Instead, I am trying to get our meal in the pot as fast as possible during my little guy's impossible short naps.

Last night I hit on success with a quick minestrone soup. As an added plus, it was easy to make a big pot, so Kevin and I both have lunch for a couple of days.

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, cut into small cubes
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped into rounds
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 quart chicken stock
12 ounce can white beans, such as great northern beans or canallini beans
2 cups kale, finely chopped
1/2 pound bit sized pasta such as elbow macaroni
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add pancetta and cook until slightly brown. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for four or five minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Cook for another three minutes. Add chopped tomatoes. Gently scrap all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pot, and then add chicken stock. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Add beans and kale. Allow soup to simmer for 15 minutes. Add pasta and simmer until pasta is cooked al dante. Add Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

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