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I am getting lots of prep work done today, do you know why? Because everything’s out and I am going to enjoy my hearty minestrone soup tonight with pasta, beans, vegetables while all of this is out I’m going to prep ahead and make lamb and lentil stew. Later in the week some pasta salad, which reminds me, I’ve got boiling water right here.
First thing I did was crank that water on because I don’t want to wait for it, so I’m going to use pasta in three different dishes. I’m going to pick a big batch of it today, about a pound and a half of this ditalini pasta. I love it, there’s the small little tube shapes and I like them just because they’re cool and they’re fun, they’re great in minestrone and they also cook in eight minutes, not 15.
So I’m going to put a pound and a half in here, I get it cranked up back to a boil and let it go for seven to eight minutes. You’re going to love this. I’m going to finish my chopping. I’ve got four carrots here chopped, three stalks of celery. I’m going to chop up two onions, some for today, some for my lamb and lentil stew.
I’m going to cut up the zucchini, this is going in the minestrone tonight but since it’s a tender vegetable it’s not going to go until later, so I’m just going to move it aside. Now, I’m going to start layering some ingredients into my slow cooker. It takes about two chopped carrots, one of the three celery stalks, go in. So that’s two carrots, two stalks of celery and about a cup of onion into here, and this is my meal kit for my lentil stew.
Now, the rest of the ingredients for my minestrone go in now. I’ve got a 20-ounce can here of diced tomatoes, a can of white beans. I do like to drain them though to cut back on some of that thick liquid that’s in the can and some of the salt. It’s a 15-ounce can, three cups of vegetable broth, you can use chicken broth too, we need about three cups in here. I’m going to add a teaspoon of dry thyme, two bay leaves. And remember we’re going to pull these out then because these never get soft, and a half of teaspoon of dried sage. And I’ll do about a half a teaspoon of salt and about a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, give that a quick stir.
It smells so good, that sage is just wonderful. I’m going to pop that lid on. If you want to cook it all day like six to eight hours put it on low, if you want a little faster if you can’t wait, three to four hours pop it on high. I’m going to let it go all day just to evolve the flavors. Nothing really needs to cook. It just needs to soften. The tomatoes were canned. The beans are already cooked. It’s just more of a flavor evolving thing.
And the pasta is ready for me to take off the heat. See how fast that cooks? Love those little small pasta shapes. Okay, now remember, some of these is going to go into the soup later on when it’s all tender and ready. So I want to take about a quarter of it, remember we cooked a pound and a half. I’m just going to plop it with this zucchini because the zucchini is going in later too. I will put minestrone on there that would go in the fridge with my lentil stew meal kit. And not we’ve got pasta salad I’m going to do later in the week. And then we’ll say pasta-salad.
Spinach for later, let that thaw. I’ve got some thyme too, so I’m going to clean up a little bit, go out for the day and when I come back that’s going to be ready to eat.
Smells like minestrone in here. Actually smells like childhood memory of my mom making soup. She will let it go all day. Let’s check it out -- oh God, it smells so good, I see the bay leaf right on top, I need to get that out now because we don’t need it anymore. So there’s one -- alright, now I’m just going to add those ingredients that we prepped ahead I’m going to get them out of the fridge, get them in there fast. It starts slow but it finishes fast, that’s what I love about it. So my spinach thawed, look how that big bag turned into this just little couple of handfuls here. A quick snip, you are going to put in about two cups of spinach. Remember that pre-cooked ditalini pasta and the zucchini that I pre-chopped? That’s going right in there too, give that a stir, can’t put more ingredients in that or it will overflow.
That is the kind of meal that you want to come home to, look at this. I’m just going to let this heat through because I want the zucchini to be a little bit crisp since all the other veggies are going to be really soft since they cooked all day, the carrots, celery, the onion.
And that’s so pretty. I love to serve this soup with chive butter. It’s just softened butter, two tablespoons of softened butter with tablespoon of mixed chives. And look how creamy and smooth and wonderful that is, you can season it with salt and pepper if you want. It’s gorgeous, that’s going to be so great with my soup, which we’re going to lay over right in here now. Nice and hot, spent all day in there waiting for me to come home. A little parmesan cheese, just sprinkle it right over the top, we’ve got a nice shaving in there, and some fresh basil.
This looks like comfort in a bowl. I love to come home to this. The vegetables and pasta are so soft and wonderful, and the sage and the thyme and the bay leaves, it got a little parmesan, comfort abounds in this bowl.