Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tuscan Kale and Squash Minestra

I found this recipe  on Food & Wine's site here and it is pure fall  in a bowl. Super tasty, super satisfying, and super healthy. The soup trifecta.

1 large onion, finely chopped
One ~2-pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 pound Tuscan kale, chopped (make sure to remove the stems! They are chewy and can make your soup taste like dirt...)
4 cups chicken stock (I used my usual Better than Bouillon)
1 cup canned navy beans, drained

Give the pan a good go-round with a couple of glugs of EVOO, somewhere between 1-2 tbsp. Cook the onions over medium heat until soft and just slightly browned. Add the squash and cook for about 5 minutes  until it is also slightly browned. Give the pan a couple go-rounds of salt. If you are not using a low-sodium broth, you may want to go easy on the salt in this step, and wait until you taste everything all together later.

If you're using a good heavy-bottomed pan, don't be afraid to let some brown bits start accumulating on the bottom of the pan- you'll get those back up into the broth in a bit. Add the garlic and rosemary and let it cook for a minute. Add the kale. It will look huge, but let it cook for a few minutes and it will wilt.

Add the chicken stock. You should get a nice sizzle- take a second to make sure you scrape up any of those brown bits and get them working together with the broth. You don't want to miss those flavor bits.... Cover and simmer the mixture until the kale and squash are tender- it shouldn't take long, approx 10 minutes.  Add the beans and cook for 5 more minutes, uncovered. Taste and add S&P as needed (depending on what stock you use, you may not need any salt at all).

At this point, you could add a small pasta such as ditalini, tortellini, or any other cute mini pastas Barilla has on the market these days. I'm more of a quinoa fan- it's tasty and chock full of protein. I serve the soup over a small scoop for a complete meal, topped with a fair bit of freshly shaved parm. Yum. 

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