Vegetarian Minestrone(Serves 6-8)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced potato (peel or unpeeled, your choice; I like the skin)
2 carrots, diced
1 medium zucchini or yellow squash diced
1 cup fresh green beans, ends trimmed and halved
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 T tomato paste
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice with Italian seasonings
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups mushroom stock (or all chicken stock or use vegetable if you want to keep truly vegetarian) Salt and pepper, to taste
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
1. Heat oil over medium heat.
2. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring, for five minutes.
3. Add potato, carrots, zucchini, and green beans and cook until the vegetables are just beginning to soften.
4. Add the bay leaf, crushed red pepper, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, basil, and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for as little as 15 minutes and up to 45 minutes (longer is better, in my book, but keep it at a simmer and give it a stir once in a while).
5. Add cannellini beans and warm through.
6. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.
7. Serve topped with Parmesan and a dollop of your favorite pesto.