MINESTRONE WITH PESTO BRUSCHETTA

MINESTRONE WITH PASTA AND PESTO BUTTER BRUSCHETTA

MINESTRONE WITH PASTA AND PESTO BUTTER BRUSCHETTA

Ingredients

Minestrone is Italy's most famous soup and it has become popular because its easy to make, adaptable and delicious. Over the centuries Minestrone in Italy has changed a great deal. Tomatoes for instance as a newer addition to the soup.

Traditionally minestrone is made with Borlotti beans also known as cranberry beans but they are not always available, Here is my version, which uses ingredients that you can find anywhere. This recipe can be made with bacon or you can use dried mushrooms (as indicated below) for a vegetarian version that is scrumptious. I serve it with a pesto bruschetta reminiscent of the Ligurian version of this soup known as Minestrone all Genovese. But garlic bread is great too. I used Fregola- a toasted semolina pasta in this soup. You can use barley instead if you want a gluten-free version.

SERVES 10

1/2 CUP FINELY CHOPPED BACON OR USE 2 TBSP DRIED PORCINI/SHITTAKE MUSHROOMS FOR VEGETARIANS

3 TBSPN EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OR REGULAR VEGETABLE OIL

1 CUP FINELY CHOPPED WHITE ONION

1/4 CUP FINELY CHOPPED CELERY STALK

1/4 CUP FINELY CHOPPED FRESH GARLIC

5 COOKING POTATOES PEELED AND QUARTERED

2 CUPS CARROTS, SLICED LENGTHWISE AND THEN HALVED INTO 1/4 INCH THICK PIECES

1 CUP YELLOW ZUCCHINI DICED MEDIUM

1 CUP GREEN ZUCCHINI DICED MEDIUM

1 CAN (400G) TINNED BAKED BEANS

1 TEASPOON GROUND WHITE PEPPER OR MORE

1 CUP FREGOLA OR USE SMALL TUBE PASTA OF YOUR CHOICE SUCH AS ELBOW MACARONI,DITALINI OR CONCHIGLIE

SALT TO TASTE

GARNISH

SHREDDED PARMESAN

PESTO BUTTER BRUSCHETTA

80 GRAM FRESH BASIL

6 CLOVES GARLIC

3 TBSPN BUTTER

3 TBSPNS SHREDDED PARMESAN

1/4 CUP PINE NUTS, CHILGOZA OR SKINNED ALMONDS

Instructions

IF MAKING VEGETARIAN MINESTRONE SOAK THE DRIED MUSHROOMS IN 1/2 CUP HOT WATER.

HEAT OIL ON MEDIUM HEAT IN A LARGE SOUP POT. ADD BACON AND COOK UNTIL GOLDEN AND RENDERED. IF VEGETARIAN SKIP THIS STEP.

ADD ONIONS AND CELERY AND SAUTE UNTIL ONIONS ARE SOFT AND TRANSLUCENT-3-4 MINUTES.

ADD POTATOES AND STIR WELL. ADD 1.5 LITERS OF WATER, GROUND PEPPER AND COOK 5-7 MINUTES UNTIL POTATOES SOFTEN.

ADD CARROTS AND COOK ANOTHER 4 MINUTES UNTIL CARROTS SOFTEN.

ADD BEANS, AND COURGETTES AND THE MUSHROOMS WITH THEIR LIQUID (IF USING) AND COOK 2 MINUTES ON HIGH HEAT UNTIL THE SOUP BEGINS TO BOIL.

ADD PASTA AND SWITCH OFF THE FLAME.

ALLOW THE PASTA TO COOK IN THE HEAT OF THE SOUP.

ADD SALT AND MORE PEPPER TO TASTE. LADLE INTO BOWLS.

FOR THE PESTO

PROCESS THE INGREDIENTS TO A CHUNKY CONSISTENCY IN A FOOD PROCESSOR.

FOR THE BREAD

FLAME THE SOURDOUGH OR BAGUETTE OVER AN OPEN FLAME ON BOTH SIDES. IMMEDIATELY BRUSH WITH PESTO BUTTER AND SERVE WITH HOT MINESTRONE AND MORE PARMESAN ON THE SIDE.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/minestrone-with-pesto-bruschetta/

CHINESE HOT AND SOUR SOUP

HOT AND SOUR SOUP

HOT AND SOUR SOUP

Ingredients

"Hot and sour soup" is a Chinese soup said to come from the provinces of Beijing or Sichuan (both in opposite directions) but it is eaten in many versions all over the world. While the name hot would certainly make one associate it with the spicy food of Sichuan, the heat in this soup doesn't come from commonly used red chillies such as Yien Tsin or Chi Chien but from white pepper.

During my time in China I never saw this soup on a menu in any upscale Shanghai or Beijing restaurant but I did eat it at night markets and hot pot restaurants. It varied, some had thinner broths and bigger pieces of meat, some were watery but they were pretty close to the versions I've eaten in the United States and India. The ones that really stood out however were the broths that were particularly fresh and flavourful and not too glutinous and there was enough texture from bits of meat and mushrooms in the soup to make it an enjoyable eating experience.

In Mumbai Lings Pavillion does a good hot and sour but my favourite is available at the Willingdon Club- an old world gymkhana style club in Mahalaxmi. IN NYC I like Sichuan Gourmet in the Garment district and the hot and sour soup at Vanessa's Dumpling House is very good too.

Who makes your favorite?

The Chinese hot and sour soup is usually meat-based and has a thinner broth, the American version has a thicker broth that imitates the American Chinese egg drop soup- the technique of thickening a broth with whisked eggs. The sour comes from Chinese black vinegar a dark, sour Chinkiang or Zhenjiang) vinegar made by fermenting black glutinous rice. This is not available everywhere so use some red balsamic mixed with sharp white vinegar.

Most versions in China had lily buds, wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots and pork. Wood ear also known as black fungus and cloud ear mushrooms are available here

https://www.amazon.in/Urban-Platter-Edible-Fungus-Mushrooms/dp/B017P64LY2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525613177&sr=8-1&keywords=wood+ear+mushroom

Dried day lily are tiger lily buds- tiger lily is a flower used ornamentally in India and comes in bright orange and yellow. If you don't have them omit them entirely. I also soak my mushrooms and day lily buds, in hot broth to extract more flavour from them.

If you use fresh mushrooms, slice finely and then sautée them in a pan to extract the liquid before you add them to the broth.

Jinhua ham a kind of smoked ham is used in the broth along with chicken bones. You can substitute with prosciutto or just a regular smoked ham. Traditionally in India the soup is made entirely with chicken. In India we add bits of carrot, even celery to the soup which I think really adds flavour and texture.

While this is a hot and sour soup, in India some amount of sweetener is added to to it to balance flavours. In Sichuan Jiuniang, also called laozao a sweetened rice wine is often used in desserts and soups. China like India uses many sugarcane products in the form of rock sugar and brown sugar.

SERVES 4

For the Broth: (see note)

500 grams raw chicken bones and leftover such as feet roughly chopped and washed clean

150 grams Jinhua ham or proscuitto or smoked ham chopped

2-inch fresh peeled ginger root, sliced coarsely

5 cloves garlic, smashed but not pureed

6 green onions or scallions, halved

1 6 inch stick of celery coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

salt to taste

Garnish

4 dried wood-ear mushrooms or use dried shiitake, finely chopped (see notes below instructions)

5 dried day lilies, finely chopped (see notes below instructions) or 2 tbsp very finely chopped celery leaves

1/2 cup very finely minced carrots

100 grams extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes

120 grams trimmed pork shoulder or loin, cut into small cubes or used raw chicken breast

1 large egg, whisked

Jiuniang or laozao (rice wine sweetener) or use brown sugar if required

To Serve

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper or to taste

1/4 cup Chinkiang (black) Chinese vinegar or use 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp white vinegar

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion bulbs or scallions along with an inch of green stalks

1/4 cup fresh coriander or cilantro leaves (thick stalks removed and leaves washed)

Instructions

For the Broth:

Combine all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover the ingredients by about one inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 1 hour, skimming off the scum and fat with a.small sieve from time to time. Reduce until you have 1.25 litres of broth. Pour broth through a fine strainer into a large pot. Discard all the pieces of meat, spices and vegetables.

For the soup:

Remove a cup of boiling broth and soak the dried and sliced mushrooms and lily buds in it for 5 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons cornstarch and mix until dissolved. Add to broth.

Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil. Add carrots and boil broth again and season to taste with salt.

When broth is ready, add sliced wood-ears, lilies, tofu, chicken or pork. Add the celery leaves if you don't have lily buds.Cook 5-6 minutes on a medium heat until meat is cooked. Pour the egg into the broth in a thin steady stream and stir vigorously. Switch off flame. Taste soup for salt and add sweetener if required.

Assembly: Just before serving, rewarm soup if required and stir in white pepper and vinegar. Add sweetener if required. Serve with green onions, coriander leaves and extra vinegar on the side.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/chinese-hot-and-sour-soup/

CORN CHOWDER

CORN CHOWDER

CORN CHOWDER

Ingredients

CHOWDER, A NEW ENGLAND CLASSIC IS GENERALLY NON-VEGETARIAN. I EXPERIMENTED A WHILE TO MAKE ONE THATS ENTIRELY VEGETARIAN BUT HAS DEPTH AND PUNCH.

I USE SOME UNUSUAL INGREDIENTS BUT THEY COME TOGETHER WELL.

SERVES 4-5

1.5 CUPS SHELLED YELLOW CORN

1/2 CUP SHELLED YELLOW CORN COARSELY CHOPPED

1 RED BELL PEPPER DICED

1/2 CUP GREEN ONION BULBS FINELY CHOPPED

1 CARROT CLEANED AND FINELY DICED

1 CUP PEELED AND DICED COOKING POTATOES

2 TEASPOONS FINELY CHOPPED GARLIC

1 TABLESPOON DRIED PORCINI MUSHROOMS SOAKED IN A CUP OF WATER

1-2 INDIAN GREEN CHILLIES OR SERRANO FINELY CHOPPED

1/4 TEASPOON TURMERIC POWDER

1 CUP PLAIN WHOLE MILK

1 TABLESPOON BUTTER OR REFINED VEGETABLE OIL

2 TABLESPOONS REFINED VEGETABLE OIL

GARNISH

2 TEASPOONS CHOPPED CURLY PARSLEY

6 TABLESPOONS FINELY CHOPPED ITALIAN BASIL

2 TABLESPOONS HEAVY CREAM (OPTIONAL)

HOT SAUCE

Instructions

HEAT OIL AND BUTTER IN A LARGE SKILLET AND SAUTE RED BELL PEPPERS CHILLIES AND ONIONS UNTIL JUST SOFT. ADD GARLIC AND SAUTE 1 MINUTE. ADD CARROTS, TURMERIC AND ALL THE CORN KERNELS, WHOLE AND CHOPPED AND STIR WELL. ADD 2 CUPS OF WATER AND SIMMER.

DRAIN THE PORCINI MUSHROOMS AND CHOP FINELY. RESERVE THE WATER. ADD TO THE CORN ALONG WITH THE SOAKING WATER FROM THE MUSHROOMS. COOK UNTIL CORN IS TENDER.

STIR IN THE MILK AND A TEASPOON OF SALT AND COOK ON A SLOW FLAME UNTIL CORN IS MELT IN YOUR MOUTH TENDER. SEASON FOR SALT AND SPICE. ADD MORE SALT OR HOT SAUCE AS PER TASTE.

SERVE HOT IN SOUP BOWLS. GARNISH WITH CREAM, FRESH CHOPPED BASIL AND PARSLEY

SERVE WITH CRACKERS OR SLICED BREAD.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/corn-chowder/

Broccoli and Chick Pea Soup with Toasted Watermelon and Flax seeds

Broccoli and Chick Pea soup with Toasted Watermelon and Flax seeds

Ingredients

SERVES 4

500 GRAMS BROCCOLI (RESERVE 2 FLORETS AS GARNISH)

50 GRAM CHICKPEAS

1.5 TABLESPOONS FINELY MINCED GARLIC

1/2 CUP FINELY CHOPPED ONIONS

3 TABLESPOONS ROASTED SESAME OIL

1 DRIED BAY LEAF

4 BLACK PEPPERCORNS

2 INDIAN GREEN CHILLIES WHOLE, STALKS REMOVED, SLIT LENGTHWISE

4 TEASPOONS ROASTED WATERMELON SEEDS

4 TEASPOONS ROASTED FLAX SEEDS

CROUTONS OF YOUR CHOICE

SALT FOR SEASONING

Instructions

SOAK THE CHICK PEAS OVERNIGHT WITH A PINCH OF BAKING SODA.

IN THE SESAME OIL SAUTE THE ONIONS UNTIL TENDER ON HIGH HEAT BUT DO NOT BROWN THEM. ADD THE GARLIC AND SAUTE 1 MINUTE UNTIL FRAGRANT. ADD THE CHICKPEAS AND 6 CUPS OF WATER WITH BAY LEAF, BLACK PEPPERCORNS, GREEN CHILLIES AND 1 TEASPOON SALT. COOK UNTIL VERY TENDER AND SOUPY.

FINELY CHOP THE BROCCOLI WITH THE STALK AND ADD TO THE CHICK PEAS AND COOK UNTIL TENDER. ADD MORE WATER IF REQUIRED.

REMOVE THE BAY LEAF.

COOL AND PUREE TO A SMOOTH CONSISTENCY. ADD MORE WATER TO GET THE CONSISTENCY YOU LIKE. RETURN TO LOW HEAT UNTIL BUBBLY. SEASON FOR SALT.

SERVE IN BOWLS. GARNISH WITH SEEDS AND FINLEY CHOPPED RAW FLORETS.

YOU CAN ALSO SERVE IT WITH CROUTONS OF YOUR CHOICE.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/broccoli-and-chick-pea-soup-with-toasted-watermelon-and-flax-seeds/

BROCCOLI SOUP WITH SALTED RED CHILLIES

BROCCOLI SOUP WITH SALTED RED CHILLIES

BROCCOLI SOUP WITH SALTED RED CHILLIES

Ingredients

Serves 6

1/2 kg broccoli with stalks

2 fresh red chillies finely sliced into thin rings

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup white onions finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 large carrot finely minced

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon rice flour

1 cup whole-milk or heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

salt to taste

croutons and hot sauce such as Habanero to serve

Instructions

Combine the chopped red chillies and salt in a small bowl and mix. Reserve. The salt mellows the acid int he chillies making them less hot.

Remove the stalk of the broccoli and slice into tiny pieces and reserve. Cut broccoli into florets. Reserve separately.

Finely chop carrots.

Heat oil and butter in a medium size point on medium flame. Add onions and 3/4 of the chopped red chillies and sea salt. Saute until soft and translucent. Add garlic, chopped stalks of broccoli and carrots. Saute another 3-4 minutes.

Add broccoli florets, black pepper and toss well. Pour water to just cover the tops of the broccoli. Stir in rice flour. Cook open until vegetables are soft.

Stir in milk or cream and continue cooking 2-3 minutes.

Cool then puree to a smooth or consistency. I like to leave bit of broccoli and carrot in the soup for texture but its up to you. Add salt and stir.

Taste for salt and spiciness. Stir in some Habanero hot sauce and salt if required.

Pour hot soup into bowls, mugs or cups. Garnish with leftover salted red chillies and croutons.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/broccoli-soup-with-salted-red-chillies/

PUMPKIN SOUP WITH TOASTED WALNUTS AND PUMPKIN SEEDS

SPICY PUMPKIN SOUP WITH TOASTED PECANS AND PUMPKIN SEEDS

SPICY PUMPKIN SOUP WITH TOASTED PECANS AND PUMPKIN SEEDS

Ingredients

SERVES 8

1 KG LAL KADOO OR PUMPKIN PEELED AND COARSELY CHOPPED

100 GRAMS WHITE ONIONS COARSELY CHOPPED

2 TABLESPOONS OF FINELY CHOPPED GARLIC

2 DRIED STAR ANISE PODS (SEEDS REMOVED FROM THE SEGMENTS)

1 TABLESPOON OF SWEET PAPRIKA OR 3/4 TBSP OF CAYENNE PEPPER

1 TEASPOON ORANGE ZEST (AVOID ANY WHITE PITH)

1.25 CUPS OF WHOLE MILK

2 TABLESPOONS OF VEGETABLE OIL

GARNISH

4 TEASPOONS TOASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

4 TABLESPOONS HEAVY CREAM

50 GRAMS TOASTED PECAN OR WALNUT PIECES

1/2 TEASPOON OF CAYENNE OR PAPRIKA FOR SPRINKLING

Instructions

HEAT THE OIL IN A LARGE COOKING POT ON MEDIUM HEAT. SAUTE ONIONS UNTIL SOFT ABOUT 2 MINUTES. ADD GARLIC AND SAUTE UNTIL FRAGRANT.

ADD PUMPKIN PIECES, STAR ANISE AND 3 CUPS OF WATER.

ADD 2 TEASPOONS SALT AND CAYENNE OR PAPRIKA AND STIR WELL. COOK UNTIL PUMPKIN SOFTENS AND MIXTURE THICKENS.

STIR IN MILK AND COOK UNTIL PUMPKIN IS SOFT ENOUGH TO PUREE. REMOVE STAR ANISE AND DISCARD. COOL COMPLETELY AND THEN BLEND IN BATCHES TO A SMOOTH PASTE.

RETURN TO COOKING POT. ADD ORANGE ZEST. ADD WATER TO THIN DOWN THE SOUP AS DESIRED. SIMMER UNTIL BUBBLY. STRAIN THROUGH A FINE SIEVE. DISCARD ZEST. TASTE FOR SEASONINGS. ADJUST SALT AND PAPRIKA.

LADLE INTO 8 BOWLS. GARNISH WITH NUTS, SEEDS AND CREAM. SPRINKLE WITH A LITTLE CAYENNE OR PAPRIKA.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/pumpkin-soup-with-toasted-walnuts-and-pumpkin-seeds/

Sweet Potato Bisque shots with Crispy Fried Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

Sweet Potato Bisque shots with Spiced Crispy Fried Sweet Potato Wedges

Serves 8-12
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 35 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Soup, Starter
Misc Serve Hot
Occasion Thanksgiving
Region American
By author tara deshpande
This soup will give you approximately 8 1.25 cup portions or 55-60 smaller portions if you serve them as chai glass shots to a large crowd. The Chai glasses in the photo hold about 40-45 ml but you can find bigger chai glasses also. This is a rich soup and quite filling when served as a full size portion. Its also good with garlic baguette toasts or spiced pecans.

Ingredients

  • 1.25kg sweet potato also called Ratale and Shakarkand with a light reddish skin and a light pink interior also called Varsha variety (in India. In the U.S.A Beauregard or Garnets are a good option)
  • 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery stalk
  • 100g carrots shredded or finely chopped
  • 1 firm red apple peeled. deseeded and chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup light cream or you can use a non dairy alternative like soy milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter or unflavored vegetable oil (avoid olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered allspice or use 1/4 teaspoon powdered nutmeg (plus more for the fried wedges)
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper (plus more for the fried wedges)
  • salt to taste

Note

if you have health restrictions please check with your doctor before enjoying this recipe

Directions

Heat a large pot of water. When boiling add sweet potatoes. Cook until tender about 10 minutes.Drain. Reserve 3 whole sweet potatoes. Peel remaining sweet potatoes and chop coarsely. Cover and reserve.
Melt butter in a large pot on medium heat and saute onions, garlic, celery until soft about 2 minutes. Stir to prevent excess browning. Add carrots, apples and sweet potatoes and cook another 2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add cayenne, allspice or nutmeg, 2 teaspoons salt, white wine and stock and cook 8-10 minutes on high heat. Cool soup.
Taste soup for seasoning and adjust. Puree soup in batches until smooth.
Just before you are ready to serve the soup peel remaining sweet potatoes, slice in wedges. If you plan to serve them in chai glasses the wedges should be thinner and longer. If you want to serve full size portions in a mug or soup bowl cut the sweet potato into small cubes. Deep fry in 2 inches of hot oil until crisp.
Drain and toss with a little salt, allspice and cayenne.
Reheat soup on a slow flame, stir in cream or soy milk and pour into bowls, glasses, mugs or cups of your choice. Garnish with a wedge or cubes of fried sweet potato.
Melt butter in a large pot on medium heat and saute onions, garlic, celery until soft about 2 minutes. Stir to prevent excess browning. Add carrots, apples and sweet potatoes and cook another 2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add cayenne, allspice or nutmeg, 2 teaspoons salt, white wine and stock and cook 8-10 minutes on high heat. Cool soup.
Taste soup for seasoning and adjust. Puree soup in batches until smooth.
Just before you are ready to serve the soup peel remaining sweet potatoes, slice in wedges and deep fry until crisp. Toss with a little salt, allspice and cayenne.
Heat soup, stir in cream and pour into bowls or cups of your choice. Garnish with a wedge of fried sweet potato.

TUSCAN-STYLE VEGETABLE SOUP

TUSCAN-STYLE VEGETABLE SOUP WITH LEFTOVERS

Serves 8
Prep time 35 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 15 minutes
Allergy Wheat
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Soup
Misc Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party
Region Italian
By author Tara Deshpande

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw white beans (cannellini, navy, broad beans) soaked in excess water overnight
  • 3/4 cups pasta like elbow macaroni, ziti, penne, spaghetti cut into bits or 4 cooking potatoes peeled and diced into one inch pieces for gluten free ((optional))
  • 2 cups washed and finely chopped plum tomatoes or canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup washed and finely chopped celery rib
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped garlic
  • 2 cups carrots, scraped, washed diced in half inch pieces
  • 1 cup zucchini, washed and diced into one inch pieces (don’t peel the zucchini)
  • 7-8 leaves of kale, swiss chard, bok choy or radicchio chopped
  • 1 cup any leftover mixed veggies like potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, green beans diced into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups vegetable fronds, tops, stalks, leftover leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, rosemary or oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or agave
  • Salt to taste
  • OPTIONAL GARNISHES
  • 1-2 cup croutons from leftover bread or garlic bread as a side
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fried bacon or pancetta bits
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery leaves

Note

 

 

 

I make this soup every 5-6 weeks with leftovers from my fridge. I make it vegan and serve leftover garlic bread, fried bacon bits and  parmesan on the side so its suitable for any diet. I use the carrot tops and cauliflower stalks to make a light stock and add leftover beans, veggies like zucchini and potatoes, celery thats lying around (because you always buy too much) and thicken the soup with whatever pasta is handy or just potatoes for a gluten-free version.

This soup is vegan and can be gluten free if the pasta is replaced with potatoes but you can always add pancetta or bacon to it, even sausages, ground or minced meat into the stock itself. Use any herb you have around rosemary, thyme or dill.

Directions

• Set 2 liters of water to boil in a stock pot. Add 2 cups of the leftover vegetable fronds, tops, stalks, extra veggies, stalks to this stalk with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Let it simmer.
• Heat oil in a large stock pot a medium flame . Add chopped celery ribs and onions and sauté till opaque and fragrant.
• Add garlic and stir about 1 minute until fragrant.
• Add tomatoes and beans and stir well. Drain the boiling stock into the tomatoes and beans. Discard the vegetables. Cover and simmer 35 minutes until tomatoes are pulpy and beans are somewhat tender but not fully cooked.
• Stir in carrots, potatoes, herbs of your choice like oregano or thyme, black pepper, red pepper flakes, sugar or agave. Add 2 cups water or as required or for a consistency you like. The pasta, if you use some, when added will absorb a lot of liquid.
• Cover and boil another 15 minutes or until beans and carrots are tender.
• Stir the uncooked pasta, your choice of green leaves and zucchini into the boiling soup. Cover tightly and switch off flame.
• Let pasta and zucchini rest in the hot liquid for 20 minutes. Add salt to taste and more pepper and red chilli flakes as per your taste.
• Serve warm with leftover bread, bacon or pancetta bits and parmesan.
This soup is vegan and can be gluten free made without pasta. The garnishes served on the side make this a dish everyone can enjoy.

Photo Credit Tara Deshpande

Author Tara Deshpande