La Minestra


No buzz-kill intended, but let’s face it, at some point you’re not going to feel your best over this winter.  Whether it’s the result of  a cold, flu, over-indulgence or just the plain old blues, you’re going to wish you had this cure-all vegetable soup in your recovery arsenal. How many times have you stood in front of the refrigerator and stared into oblivion hoping something good would jump out at you.  Or you wander over to the pantry only to find one lonely expired can of salty soup?

Make this nutritious soup now while you can, eat some and freeze the rest for a rainy day.  Take care of your inner child, your stomach will thank you as each soothing slurp restores your strength for whatever life throws at you.  Happy New Year!  I’m ready…..are you?


2 quarts chicken broth (if not homemade, I cheat with Progresso Tuscany Style or Chicken Soup for the Soul Italian Style broths)

1 large chopped onion

3 cloves minced garlic

3 chopped carrots

3 diced celery stalks

1/3 head of shredded white or Savoy cabbage

1 large cubed potato

1 zucchini (seeds removed and green part cubed)

1-15 oz. can of navy or cannellini beans (not drained)

1 cup Orzo pasta (or similar pastina)

1/2 cup tomato sauce (or leftover marinara sauce)

2 fistfuls (how’s that for an Italian measurement?) baby kale or baby spinach

grated Parmesan & EVOO

1 tbs. chopped basil

This soup takes less than an hour to make. The hardest part is getting your produce together and chopping it so you can add the ingredients to the pot in the following order.   In a large soup pot, drizzle the olive oil to coat and saute the chopped onion until translucent.  Add the minced garlic and stir for a minute.  Add the diced celery and carrots and saute another two minutes.  Pour in the broth and bring to a low simmer.   Add the cubed potato and shredded cabbage and tomato sauce.  Simmer for 1/2 hour.  Add the cut zucchini, beans,  baby kale or spinach and stir.  Continue to simmer on low.

In separate small pot, cook the one cup of Orzo  al dente (ditali or any small pasta also works), drain and mix into the soup along with finely chopped basil.   Serve and garnish with grated Parmesan and hunks of crusty Italian bread.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!