Summer Minestrone soup, with fresh seasonal tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini and corn.
It’s summer in full swing here in Missouri which means hot, hot, hot. Why on earth did I want to make soup last week? Because the markets are full of fresh, local produce. Corn, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and more. I was thinking why not make Summer Minestrone with some of these good veggies instead of just in the winter when the zucchini is pretty gnarly-looking? And I recently made a big batch of chicken stock, in the freezer and waiting to be put to good use.
Minestrone is great stuff, any season. I made it in a pretty traditional way — starting with a soffritto of carrots, celery and onion, adding potatoes, chicken stock and tomato, and then some more veggies and pasta and white beans. I also put a piece of Parmesan rind in the pot, adds great depth of flavor.
So I used fresh, local zucchini, tomatoes, new potatoes and corn. I also put in some kale. That’s how I make it, but I got to thinking I should mix it up in the summer and try adding green beans and maybe cabbage and/or fennel instead of the kale. Next time I will as I am pretty sure I am going to make another pot soon.
In these dog days of summer, try using all the wonderful vegetables in season for a summer minestrone. Be creative, mix it up, whatever looks best, try. It will be delicious and satisfying, even if it’s a 100º outside. Happy summer!
You might also like my other favorite summertime soup, Summer Corn Chowder.
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- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 rib of celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large red or yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks (or 12 small new potatoes cut in halves or quarters)
- 6 cups plus 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade (you can use water if you want but I think the soup is a little bland that way, better with chicken or vegetable stock)
- 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
- Piece of good Parmesan cheese rind, about a 2-inch piece
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 bunch of Tuscan kale, stems removed and roughly chopped (or Swiss chard or escarole)
- 1 ear corn, kernels cut off
- 1 cup ditalini pasta or other small pasta, like orzo
- 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan and olive oil for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the chopped carrots, celery and onion and season with a good pinch of salt. Cook and stir occasionally until they start to soften and brown, about 10 minutes or so.
- Add the potatoes, sprinkle on some more salt, and continue cooking and stirring another 5 minutes or so, or until all the vegetables are nicely browned. You should have a good fond on the bottom of your pan, careful it doesn't burn.
- Add 6 cups of chicken broth and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This is good stuff you want. Then add the chopped tomatoes and Parmesan rind, a little more salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the zucchini,kale and corn simmer 5 minutes and then add the pasta and 1 cup chicken stock. Adjust heat to keep a simmer going and cook until the vegetables are tender, another 10 minutes.
- Lastly, add the beans and simmer another 3 or 4 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle into bowls and drizzle with a little good olive oil and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.
* Adapted from Mark Bittman in Parade magazine, 2012