My worst love is the Olive Garden. I LOVE the minestrone and breadsticks and would eat it every meal if it was followed by cheesesteaks. But for serious, summer in SF is time for soup, because well... its freaking cold! So we made some awesome minestrone and have been eating for days with some local crusty bread. I have been topping mine with grated parm and nut yeast, but that's just me. Our minestrone puts the OG to shame... which is where the OG belongs- in a deep, dark pit of fake Italian shame. Anyhoo...
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, 1/4" dice
4 ribs celery, 1/4" dice
3 carrots, 1/4" dice
2 Tbsp double concentrate tomato paste
5 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed, cut into 1/4" segments
1 cup pasta (We used Eden Organic Alphabet pasta)
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
Get a big pot and turn on the heat to low. Throw in your oil, mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery), a pinch of S&P and saute until your entire apartment smells good, about 15 minutes, stirring between songs on your ipod, every 5 minutes or so. Add in the tomato paste and cook for an additional 5 minutes to "toast" the tomato paste and bring out the tomato flavor.
Add the chickpeas, heirlooms, stock and water, cover the pot and go have a drink. Heck, have 3, you have 45 minutes. Get a separate pot of water boiling for your pasta. When the 45 minutes are up, the tomatoes will be nicely broken down in the soup and you can start cooking your pasta in the other pot. Toss the green beans and Italian seasoning into the soup pot, taste and adjust the S&P. Now you need to cut your bread and get it into the toaster oven as well. When the pasta finishes cooking, drain and add it to the soup, and then thank me in the morning. Soup is awesome!