This is my partner, Ben’s, favorite soup. At the first appearance of delicata or buttnernut squash in the grocery store he asks me to make it. It’s full of vegetables but still brothy, and makes at least six hearty servings.
As written this recipe is vegan, and I’m sure it’s tasty that way. The first time I made it Ben looked at the recipe and asked me to add spicy Italian chicken sausage, and we’ve never gone back. I also top each bowl with a spoonful or two of grated Parmesan to add some saltiness to the final dish. And—I just can’t help myself—I substitute chicken broth for water. The soup really doesn’t cook for long, so whether you use vegetable or chicken stock, I would recommend this alteration.
This dish is also flexible. If you have extra kale you can throw it in and the soup can handle it. If you like other herbs and spices, like fennel or dried basil, give it a try—it’s hard to go wrong!
As for the preparation, I brown the sausage with the olive oil, onions, and celery. I add the garlic just during the last 30 seconds of sautéing. Then I toss all of the vegetables in and coat them with the olive oil and oregano before adding the chicken stock. From there I simmer until it’s time to add the kale and cannellini beans. This soup takes some prep, but the actual cooking time is less than 30 minutes. One set of helping hands in the kitchen before the pot hits the stove will dramatically decrease the workload. It keeps well and even tastes better the next day (like soup should.)
If you like to serve your soup with bread, I’ve found a gf olive loaf that I love with this. Otherwise, a bowlful on its own definitely makes a meal.
Autumn Minestrone by The Moosewood Collective
Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special October 2009