Every now and again I get it in my head to make dinner — not just phone in a pizza order or heat up some ravioli, but actually make something. In those cases I tend to make either chili or minestrone. I’ve already posted my Random Chili Recipe, so here is the recipe for Scalzi’s Overloaded Minestrone. The basic idea is to take minestrone soup and pile on until its consistency is actually somewhat closer to a stew than a soup. This may or may not be heresy if you love minestrone. But, I’ll tell you what, it’s good.
Scalzi’s Overloaded Minestrone
4-5 thick bacon slices, chopped (optional for the vegetarian-oriented)
3 large celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 medium to large onion, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
3 large leaves of chard, chopped
28-oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 cans pinto beans
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 spring rosemary
1 cup orzo pasta
8 – 9 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock if vegetarian)
Get a big pot. In that pot drizzle in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Dump the bacon in and fry the bacon until it is cooked but not crisp. Then add celery, carrots, onion, cabbage, chard, garlic, basil and parsley and cook until the green begin to wilt. Drain your tomatoes and then break them up into the pot; cook for about 3 – 5 minutes. Drain the beans and squish them with your hands before adding them to the pot; cook another 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken/vegetable stock and bring to a boil; then put to simmer. Add the rosemary spring and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Then remove the rosemary spring and then add the cup of orzo. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, depending on how al dente you like your orzo; stir occasionally. Serve. Makes 8 – 10 cups.
Like I said, this will give you an unusually thick minestrone. See if you like it.