Trying to stay true to my New Year’s resolution to cook one new-to-me recipe each week, last night I took on Alice Waters’ winter minestrone.
So, let me just put out there I’m a total Alice Waters groupie. At first, her classic book The Art of Simple Food seemed intimidating to me, but the more I read it, I realized that the recipes were, in fact, simple (imagine that). On nights when I need to make use of ingredients lying around, I turn to Alice or Google. Each recipe has different variations depending on what you have in your fridge and/or pantry and the result always tastes fresh. Alice is also a great help when we’re on veggie overload from our summer CSA share and need to figure out some recipes stat.
Tonight’s minestrone was a variation on her summer minestrone, which I’ve made plenty of times before. We had some cabbage leftover from another soup, and since I’m not keen on cabbage, I needed to find something to hide it in. Enter the winter minestrone, which also called for turnips – an ingredient I hadn’t cooked with before.
As you can see, lots of veg in this soup (which is good, because I’d only had an apple today…yikes). Leek, onion, potatoes, turnips, celery, carrots, and green cabbage.
Since this soup moves pretty fast once you start cooking, I like to have everything chopped up beforehand. This is when I wish I had the knife skills of Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia” (seriously…how do people do that without chopping off their finger?!). Um, I also donned my embarrassing “onion goggles” (which confuse Ada) to avoid onion-induced mascara smears.
The onions, carrots, and celery get sauteed for a bit to form a soffritto, which adds delicious flavor to the soup (along with garlic and thyme).
How beautiful is that turnip? I never realized turnips were so pink and pretty. Cannellini beans were cooked up in the afternoon, and I love that this recipe uses the bean cooking liquid. It adds a really nice creaminess and depth to the soup.
The end result was pretty delicious, filling, and oh-so-healthy. Ada enjoyed the soup, too. And I got a bit closer to my daily veggie quotient.
I also want to give a nod to our dear friend Jenessa who has just recently started a food blog Jenessa’s Dinners…even though we don’t eat meat, I love checking out her creativity and food inspiration from her travels. For the meat eaters, her stuff looks delicious, easy, and healthy!