I still have no idea what day it is, and I spend days trying to decide what I'm going to cook, and there are days when I don't cook and we simply order in or grab something from the freezer. Yesterday I felt like having a bowl of comfort, even though it was 90 degrees here at the coast. I've been using Insta-Cart to get most of our groceries, and Gelson's markets have had stellar produce, so I put in my order and 2 hours later I have the veg I needed to make some soup.
I kind of picture this soup being made by Tony Soprano, or one of the guys from Goodfellas, or the God Father movies when they are holed up somewhere for a while. This soup and a pot of sauce with meatballs.
During hot weather like this, my slow cooker is a God-send. I use it for soups, braises, and as a low and slow oven. At high, a slow cooker should be at 300 degrees, so you can slow bake foil-wrapped potatoes, or make lasagna.
In Italy, minestrone really is a vegetable soup, that may have a few leftover beef or pork bones thrown in for flavor, but they hardly ever use stock to enrich the broth, rather they will use Parmigiano rinds, fruity olive oil to begin the soup, and fresh veg to flavor the soup. I threw all that out the window yesterday, I started with sweet Italian sausage, added wine, and tomatoes, and both beef and chicken broth because I wanted a really hearty soup. So, here goes.
Serves 6 to 8
Add the onion, celery, carrots, and sage, and saute until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the wine and tomatoes, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to concentrate the flavor.
The soup keeps refrigerated for up to 4 days or freezes beautifully for up to 4 months.
Slow-Cooker Savvy: Saute the sausage and mirepoix. Add the tomatoes and wine, then transfer to your slow cooker insert, add the broths, veg, and rinds, cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
- If you want to make it vegetarian, leave out the sausage, and use vegetable broth
- I've made this using cauliflower as one of the veg (about 2 cups of florets), it's really a soup that is from the garden so whatever you have will be fine in it.
- Sub in Kale or Swiss chard for the spinach.
- Always cook the pasta (if you are using it) before it goes into the soup, otherwise, it will absorb all the broth. I've also used cheese tortellini in this soup and it's delicious.