Monday, November 23, 2009


In another round of "what-do-I-have-in-the-fridge-that-needs-to-be-used-up," I decided to make a big vat of minestrone to get lots of disparate things out of the fridge. Here's what I threw into the minestrone, all of which were hanging out in my refrigerator left over from other projects, needing to be used in some way:

a couple of Italian sausages
an onion that was about to go bad (plus some garlic, of course, and some chopped bell peppers from the freezer)
a can of white beans
the last jars of chicken broth in the fridge, plus two cans of beef broth from the pantry
a large Ziploc bag of fresh tomato sauce
two heads of fresh kale
a handful of fusilli
a few random cherry tomatoes, ripened on the window sill
cuttings from my herb garden (oregano; thyme; rosemary; plus a handful of dried Italian seasoning)
the last of a bottle of red wine
a few pieces of already-cooked bacon, chopped

The great thing about soup is that it can be pretty much whatever you want it to be, and you can add pretty much anything to it. I cooked the sausages first; added the onion and garlic and cooked that until it was soft and translucent; and then dumped everything else into the pot and poured broth over it until the liquid came up over the top of the pile of solids. Cook until the kale is limp and the pasta is cooked through. Serve with lots of parmesan. Delicious, filling, and made me feel like I'd managed to simultaneously cross off several items on my to-do list.

Cost: hard to say, since I had all the items anyway, and the whole point was to combine them in some fashion. You can use any kind of pasta, beans, produce, whatever, in this; if you make your own broth, like I do, the cost is so low as to be negligible. I'll guess the entire pot of soup didn't cost more than a couple of dollars total, and we're talking about at least 7 or 8 quarts of soup. That will feed four adults for at least two separate meals.

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