Made-Up Minestrone

I apologize for the lack of photos. I think my camera ate them (or I forgot to take them), but I promise to see if I can get at them.

ETA: 28 November 2010 at 8:08 pm. I found a few! So please enjoy some ingredient photos!

Ingredients

Leftover beans w/Italian spicing (From the Italian pot roast recipe.)
Leftover “broth” w/Italian spicing (See above.)
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
~1/2 – 1 lb greens (I used a mix of spinach & kale.)
4 c chicken stock (THAT I MADE.)
Kosher salt (Table salt would be fine too.)
Ground oregano
Dried thyme
Dried basil (shoosh)
Red pepper flakes
~3 tbsp olive oil
~1/2 lb pasta, cooked (In other words, that’s how much I think was leftover from last night’s stroganoff that we’re out of.)

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium to high heat. Once it’s hot, toss in the onions & cook about two minutes, until they’re somewhat softened. At that point, toss in the carrots & celery and cook until the carrots consider getting tender. At that point, remember that you forgot garlic, wonder how you did that, and toss in two LARGE minced cloves. Continue cooking until the carrots are much closer to tender.

Run out of patience before everything’s tender and dump in the chicken stock. It’ll be fairly warm because you brought it nearly to a boil thawing it. If you’re more organized and it’s not warm, that won’t be a problem, everything will just take longer. Also dump in the “minestrone broth” from the pot roast. This will be fairly cold, since it thawed just fine in the fridge. Cook briefly, then taste and add the seasonings as you think is appropriate. Use a light touch at first unless you only have canned beans, because the beans have all these spices too.

Realize this about the beans, so dump them in impatiently. Realize they’re still basically frozen, and roll your eyes at yourself. Stir a bit, taste, add some salt, and allow to roughly simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minute simmer, send Bill up to taste it, have him dump in some more salt when he says it lacks “oomph”.

Simmer a bit longer, as Bill is asking you how long the greens need to cook. After about 5 minutes, go taste the broth again, add a dash or two more of red pepper flakes, channel Chef Diane and consider whether it needs more salty, sweet, bitter or sour notes. Ignore “umami” because you are not, in fact, Chef Diane and can’t really quantify this one. Decide it needs a bitter note that will be provided with the greens and dump them in. Cover and simmer until they’re cooked down & tender. Taste and fall in love with yourself.

Dump in the pasta, stir to break it up, then allow to simmer until the pasta’s heated. Serve with crusty bread and be proud of yourself for managing what turned out to be an awesome new soup from leftovers. Know your awesome cook of a mother could be knocked over with feather if she ever read your blog post about it, because you don’t really cook without recipes, and didn’t used to cook at all. Don’t worry about your poor mother, though, because you’re confident she doesn’t read your blog. (But you keep your language clean, just in case.)

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