From Cook's Country
Good minestrone soup recipes capture the fleeting flavors of summer vegetables in a bowl. But as with so many soups, minestrone can turn stodgy and bland if we don’t treat the vegetables right. To preserve the delicate texture of summer squash while maximizing its sweet flavor, we browned the seeded squash (with plenty of garlic) at the onset of cooking, removed it from the pot, and then added it back to the soup just prior to serving. For a bold tomato flavor, we made a fresh “tomato paste" by cooking half of the seeded tomatoes until they began to brown. To add a bright herbal flavor and leafy texture to our recipe, we stirred in a considerable amount of freshly chopped basil just before serving. To further lighten the soup, we eliminated heavy starches such as pasta and rice. Instead, we relied solely on the creamy texture and delicate flavor of small white navy beans to add a subtle heartiness to the soup.
Serves 6 to 8
Zucchini can be substituted for half or all of the summer squash; see related content for information on seeding these types of squash. If desired, serve minestrone with grated Parmesan cheese and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil.
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