Penne al la Summer Minestrone

11 Aug

Maybe it’s because Monday’s Soups is rounding to it’s 6 month anniversary, that is a lot of soup, folks, but I find myself bursting with soup thoughts on a daily basis… So with that in mind, here I go.

Jamie came over to my apartment last night because Alayna is vacationing in Texas. This means that Yes, this was the first soup that was ever made outside of Alayna’s apartment for the blog. And it went well. It was a little less smooth than when Alayna cooks. She has mastered the art of chopping, sauteing and knowing what goes in the pot next while talking. I can’t do that so well. Thus, I would realize I forgot to add the cannellini beans five steps later. Or I added the green beans too early. But because soup forgives, none of this mattered. This soup also brought me back to my never ending question, Why do we blanch vegetables? I was afraid of kale for so long because blanching seemed like such a pain. But I soon realized that kale really doesn’t need to be blanched at all. I don’t taste a difference. Can a foodie help a soupie out?

The New York Times reported yesterday that obesity rates are going up based on a nationwide survey from 2005 to 2009. Nothing is new here. Seven of the 10 states with the highest poverty levels are also among the 10 states with the highest obesity rate. In Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia more than 30% of adults are obese. And—this is crazy—in 30 states, 30% or more of children are overweight or obese. That’s insane. It’s insane and it’s stupid. And it probably gets on my nerves more than it should but I can’t help it.

Jamie asked me what I was learning through this blog. I’m learning that cooking brings together people and conversations in a very authentic way. And that heady, karma part of me—that was born in college—believes that these are the real things you put into your food when you cook.

I know I’m getting annoying, and I’m trying not to fall over the line of being too preachy. This means a lot to me, and I feel like I learn more each week.

This is what I know.

A friend who I was very close to when I was a child, who I slipped away from as we grew older and we fell into life and trying to figure out who we were and who we certainly were not and all that, and then, only recently we began to inch back together. And the dialogue that brought us back was food. Was, stuff like, Yes, oh my gosh kale is wonderful and how do you bake a spaghetti squash and all of that. And while we were in the process of coming back to one another a tragedy happened in her family and it was awful and it broke my heart. I did the dance of all those awkward words that don’t feel like your own. I’m So Sorry and Is There Anything I Can Do and All My Sympathy. We put together those words and it felt strange and not right. And then it began to come back. It came back with, ML, I’m going to the market to make your soup.

Really?? Which soup?

Thai! I already have most of the ingredients.

And that is how we started to feed each other back to ourselves.

*

Now, lets eat… Summer Minestrone with Penne (or whatever pasta is in your cabinet

My first kitchen picture!

This is one of those soups where veggies can be swapped in and out. It doesn’t matter. Throw in whatever you have around or is in season.

-Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 medium yellow onion chopped into a soup pot over medium heat

-Add 4 chopped carrots and 4 chopped stalks of celery, add a pinch of salt, mix around for 10 minutes or until veggies soften.

-Throw in 6 cloves of garlic chopped and a few shakes of thyme (or fresh, obvi!)

-Dump in a big can of chopped tomatoes with juices, fill up half the tomato can with water, dump that in too.


-Chop up some fresh parsley and add it. Turn the heat to simmer. Throw in a basil leaf or two if you have them.

-Rinse 1 can of cannellini beans and add them to the soup.

-Meanwhile in a separate small pot boil a few cups of water, once boiling add about one pound of fresh green beans (with the ends snapped off, cut into bite size pieces.) Leave them boiling for 5 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Put to the side.

-Rinse out the pot and boil more water. Once boiling add a cup of penne pasta. Cook for ten minutes.

-Add the green beans while the pasta is cooking, taste the soup add salt or pepper or whatever you think.

-When pasta is done throw that in and you’re done!

-Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and more parsley just because that looks pretty.

Note: If you are going to make a bunch of this soup and not eat right away might want to add the pasta separate because it will get mushy in the soup after a day or so.

Look at those lovely bowls. Thanks Alayna.

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