Flavorful minestrone, a satisfying soup

March 28, 2007|By Linda Gassenheimer | Linda Gassenheimer,McClatchy-Tribune

Minestra is Italian for soup, and minestrone is a thick soup that is hearty enough to be a complete meal. Here is a simple midweek version with a refreshing blend of flavors that cooks in just 20 minutes.

Acini pepe is a very small soup pasta. Any type of leftover pasta, broken into small pieces, or orzo (rice-shaped pasta) can be used. Pecans, a good source of protein and monounsaturated fat, add pleasing texture and crunch.

Italian Sausage Minestrone

Serves 2

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 pound low-fat Italian turkey sausage

1 cup frozen diced onion

1 cup sliced green beans (1-inch pieces)

1 medium tomato, diced (1 cup)

2 cups fat-free, low-salt chicken broth

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup packed, fresh, ready-to-eat spinach

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup acini pepe pasta

2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Slice the sausage and add to the pan with the onion and green beans. Saute 5 minutes. Do not brown the vegetables.

Add the tomato and broth. (It should cover the vegetables; add water, if needed.) Bring to a simmer and cover partially with a lid, leaving space for steam to escape. Simmer 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach and basil. Set aside for a minute or two.

While soup cooks, bring 2 to 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and boil 8 minutes, until cooked al dente. Drain.

Spoon pasta into bowls and ladle soup on top. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and pecans.

Per serving: 515 calories, 19 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 88 milligrams cholesterol, 36 grams protein, 51 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 1,361 milligrams sodium

Recipe analysis provided by the Miami Herald.

Countdown

Prepare ingredients.

Make soup.

While soup simmers, boil pasta.

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