Harvest minestrone

Breakfast: one fried egg over easy, from the girls next door + two slices homemade "French style" bread from Beard on Bread made with hard winter wheat from our CSA share + sautéed Brussels Sprouts from Cape Cod Organic Farm (yes, again).

Lunch: homemade minestrone soup, the one my mom ripped out from Cooking Light in September 1999—with Andy's onions + our own butternut squash + our own green beans + Anna's turnip greens + our own crushed tomatoes + my mom's cabbage + herbs from the yard + chicken broth from Drew's bird + Ben's garlic + Darnell's celery + our own carrots, pulled from the greenhouse and straight into the pot.


My mom has been making this recipe forever. I wasn't much for minestrone soup as a kid (I was mostly interested in the Parmesan), but I've found as I've gotten older, it's grown on me. It is an excellent soup to make with summer veggies from the freezer, and it makes a perfect lunch with a piece of toast and some grated cheese on a gray, rainy day like this afternoon.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced carrot
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
3 cups crushed tomatoes
2 cups diced, peeled butternut squash (about 1/2 of the squash)
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced kale, spinach, Swiss chard, or turnip greens
1/2 cup uncooked pasta or cooked grain berries (farro, rye, or wheat berries would work well)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

Heat the oil up in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté 5-8 minutes, or until tender. Add the crushed tomatoes, butternut, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and garlic and bring everything to a boil. Cover the pot, turn the heat down to low, and let the soup simmer for 2o minutes.

Stir in the green beans, cabbage, greens, and pasta, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the pasta is done. Stir in the herbs. Serve hot, with a slice of crusty bread and a sprinkle of cheese.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.