As regular readers have already discovered - we eat a lot of home-made soup here. Partly because we DO like it, partly because it's easy to heat for lunch, partly because it's cheap when made from scratch.
Today I decided to make minestrone, for the first time.
Looking it up I discovered that 'minestrone' simply means 'first course'. Which makes sense, when you consider the 5-course meals at good Italian restaurants that we share as a family. Soup, salad, pasta, main course, dessert. Small servings of 5 courses (one meal, split 3 ways, maybe with an extra salad thrown in).
Lot of variety, but SMALL SERVINGS.
Every area of Italy apparently has it's own style of minestrone soup. And to my husband's amazement, "Campbells" is NOT an area of Italy.
Not being in Italy, I looked at recipes and winged it, using what I had on hand. Meaning no zucchini, which I have ALWAYS seen in minestrone soup. And I have several bottle of 'tomato water' - the liquid left over after I canned jars of tomatoes.
So I took one quart of 'tomato water...
One quart home-canned tomatoes
One 15 oz can of commercial canned carrots
one stalk celery
a little leftover spinach
three cups of chopped cabbage
a little leftover ham
a pint of home-canned green beans
a quart of cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans
two bouillion cubes
a little freshly-ground black pepper
Leftover whole-wheat rigatoni, chopped a bit
1 1/2 tsp oregano
a clove or two of finely chopped garlic
I quickly cooked the raw veggies, everything else in a big pot, added enough water that it was soupy. Simmered it a while.
And it was .... excellent! I really enjoy using the 'tomato water' as a major part of soup bases. It adds a great depth of flavor, and reduces the amount of salt recipes need (I can that without added salt).
All regular pantry stuff, and it equaled a gallon and a half of soup.