Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Minestrone with Orzo

So as you can see I'm very much into the soups lately. I think that even though my crocuses have come and gone it still feels very much like winter. This is a great, hearty soup packed with vegetables that will see you through until spring.


Serves 6-8

  • 1/2 pound (about 1 1/4 cups) dried white beans such as Great Northern, picked over and rinsed
  • 2/3 cups orzo pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 rib of celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch slices then halved
  • 1 yellow squash, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch slices then halved
  • 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound boiling potatoes
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage (preferably Savoy)
  • 1/2 pound kale, rinsed, drained, stems discarded, and the leaves chopped (about 6 cups)
  • a 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped coarse and drained well
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (preferably low-salt)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • sea salt and pepper to taste


In a large bowl let the white beans soak in enough water to cover them by 2 inches overnight or quick-soak them. Drain the white beans, in a saucepan combine them with enough water to cover them by 2 inches, and simmer them, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep them barely covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are tender. Add the salt and simmer the white beans for 5 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and let the white beans stand, uncovered.

In a heavy kettle add the oil and cook the onion until it is softened. Add the carrots, the celery, and the garlic and cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the zucchini, the green beans, and the potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the cabbage and the kale and cook the mixture, stirring, until the cabbage is wilted. Add the tomatoes, broth, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes and simmer the soup, covered, for 1 hour.

Drain the white beans, reserving the liquid, in a blender or food processor purée half of them with 1 cup of the reserved liquid, and stir the purée, the remaining white beans and the orzo into the soup. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for 15 minutes, thin it if desired with some of the remaining reserve liquid, and season it with salt and pepper. The soup may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Reheat the soup, thinning it with water as desired. Serve with crusty bread.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet


  1. Hello! Thanks for sharing your blog! That soup was yummy. You are a great cook.

  2. What a wholesome delicious looking soup! The weathers been getting pretty cold in montreal, I'm looking forward to being warmed up by this soup!


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