Recipe: Summer Minestrone
My best friend recently gave birth to the sweetest baby boy. It has been such a joy to spend time with them. When I hold that little guy in my arms for even just a few minutes, all of my work anxieties and stresses disappear—poof! He has some kind of magical power, I guess.
I’ve been coming over to their house for baby snuggles often, and I figure it’s only fair that I bring something in exchange. This nourishing soup freezes nicely and can be reheated easily with one hand.
1½ cups dried white beans (such as cannellini)
2 quarts water
2 garlic cloves
1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
4 tablespoons olive oil
Fine sea salt
2 pork sausages, casings removed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced crosswise
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
½ pound dried pasta (any shape)
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the beans, water, garlic, ½ of the onion, and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the onion. Add salt to taste.
Heat a separate pot over medium-high heat. Finely chop the other ½ of the onion and add it to the pot along with the sausage and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into bite-sized pieces. Cook until the onion softens and the sausage browns. Add the tomato paste and fresh tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
When the beans are done, stir the sausage-tomato mixture into the beans and add the carrots and kale. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Taste and season with more salt.
At this point, you can bring the soup to friends or freeze it for later. Just before you’re ready to serve, place the pot of soup over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until the noodles are al dente. Serve.
(If reheating from frozen, you can add more water to thin the soup, if you like, before adding the dried pasta.)