Minestrone Soup

I didn’t grow up in an Italian family.  Far from it, actually.  Yet somehow I wandered into adulthood with this idea of big and boisterous Italian families crowded around dining tables sharing their weekly Sunday dinners.  And I wanted to be a part of it.  My fantasy has always included some meal that is easily shared regardless of how many hungry relatives and neighbors show up.  Maybe that’s one of the reasons I like making soup.  There’s just something about making a big pot of soup that seems to scream, “Come and share this meal with us.”

Many soup recipes say that they only need to simmer for about 30 minutes.  But for me, part of the reason I like making soup is letting it simmer on the stove for an entire afternoon.  I like to think that this is when the soup is “souping.”   I love the aroma and the anticipation of it all.  Not to mention that after the prep work of slicing and peeling and chopping the ingredients, the souping stage is when I get to take a break.  So, while this soup would probably be fine if you can only let it cook for a short time, my recommendation is that you let it do a slow simmer for a couple of hours.  And speaking of those ingredients, with all the great fresh vegetables available in the fall, it is a great time to make this soup.  All those carrots at the Farmer’s Markets and the zucchinis from their gardens that your neighbors are still trying to offload?  Give them a home in a pot of soup.

We served this last night as the main course with nothing more than focaccia bread and red wine as side dishes.  We were slightly less than boisterous, and the table wasn’t crowded, but it still felt good to share a Sunday night meal with neighbors who are both friends and family.  My inner-Italian-wannabe was very happy.

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