Wakefield – Minestrone Musings

minestrone soup

Simple Sunday Supper – Tomatoes + Patty Squash + Red Peppers + Choy-sin Greens + Deano’s Pasta

As I planned the minestrone soup for Saturday’s market, I gathered a red pepper, a small patty squash, a couple of small onions, at Farmer Dave’s stand. Walking over to Flats Mentor Farms I asked them for some greens and they suggested Choy-sin, a Chinese green most customers did not know and some garlic with tomatoes from Kelly’s Farm, gave me enough for a pot of soup. The final pièce de résistance came from local Somerville producer, Deano’s Pasta, in the shape of their Fresh Egg Fusilli.

Many a Sunday, you’ll find a large pot of minestrone soup simmering at the back of my stove. When I cook classic recipes like this soup, I like to think that each time we make a traditional recipe, the memory and nurturing from where or whom it came continues. And I hope that proves right after this week’s encounter.

minestrone soup
The veggies are the star of the dish…

While I cooked at the demo table, a 10-year-old girl in a soccer jersey joined me eating a cinnamon sugar popover treat. As I chopped and stirred, I inquired about her soccer game. She politely answered, watched and asked me very specific questions; questions about cooking. This peaked my curiosity. And before I knew it, we were talking about building flavor, how, Parmesan had umami, what umami was, and so on. When she finally walked away with her family after trying the finished soup, I was left savoring our conversation. The tenuous connection with my young audience had left an umami on my heart, deeply connecting me to the past and the future.

Serves Approx. 6-8

    4 cups chopped tomatoes
    2 cups chopped patty squash
    1 cup chopped red pepper
    1 cup chopped onions
    2-3 cups chopped Choy-sin greens
    2 cups of fresh egg fusilli
    6-8 cups of water or stock
    1 tbsp. minced garlic
    1-2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
    1 tsp. tamari soy sauce
    1 tbsp. tomato paste
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    ½ tsp. salt
    ½ tsp. crushed black pepper
minestrone soup
I’m going to miss the farmer’s market…

  1. Chop all the vegetables into small bite sized pieces
  2. Heat the oil and add the garlic, stir for 2 minutes and add the onions
  3. When the onions are translucent, add the tomato paste
  4. Stir and caramelize the tomato paste for about 5 minutes
  5. Add the peppers and squash, salt as you go and stir for about 7 minutes
  6. minestrone soup
    Deano’s Pasta is the best…

  7. Add the tomatoes, remaining salt, pepper, and stir for about 5-7 minutes
  8. Add the water or stock and bring the soup to a boil, as the broth starts to thicken, add the cider vinegar, tamari soy and stir
  9. Add the pasta, boil the soup on high for about 5 minutes, if using dry pasta, boil for a little longer then let it simmer
  10. As the broth starts to thicken, the pasta is cooked, taste and adjust the flavors to your desire

At home, use any 3-4 veggies you want, carrots and celery, are traditionally used in this soup as well, which I skipped at the market. During the cooking process, I add a piece of Parmesan rind to the soup pot, this adds a depth of flavor all it’s own, and a can of drained chickpeas adds the protein. You could use Worcestershire sauce instead of the soy sauce, but being a vegetarian, I loved the tip I’d seen on an old episode of a Food Network clip, where Alton Brown had used soy sauce and, that became my goto for many tomato based soups I make all winter.

Serve with a hunk of sourdough bread and garnish with fresh parmesan and basil.

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