By Amy L. Andrews
This minestrone includes lentils, beans, and orecchiette pasta, which together deliver a level of satisfaction that is often lacking in a vegetable soup. Shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a nice loaf of sourdough round out the meal. Root Cellar Foods makes soup preparation easier with 1-pound packages of mirepoix, a mixture of chopped onions, carrots, and celery. If you wish, use 1 package in place of the onion, carrots, and celery.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables (Butternut squash, zucchini, potatoes, parsnips, etc.)
¾ cup French green lentils, rinsed (Timeless Foods)
4 cloves garlic, minced and mashed with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme (or a few sprigs fresh)
¼ teaspoon red chili fl akes
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano–style tomatoes with liquid (Bianco DiNapoli)
4 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth (Emeril boxed broth or Edward & Sons dry bouillon)
2 bay leaves
1 cup dried orecchiett e pasta (Rustichella d’Abruzzo)
1½ cups cooked cannellini beans (home cooked or 1 [15-ounce] can, rinsed and drained)
2 cups green or black kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
½ fresh lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
In large Dutch oven or soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring oft en with a wooden spoon or spatula, until vegetables have soft ened and onions begin to turn translucent, 5–10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir, and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the seasonal vegetables, lentils, garlic, and spices and cook, stirring, a couple minutes until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, water, broth, and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a boil, then vent the lid, lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
Uncover and add the pasta, beans, and kale. Simmer uncovered until the lentils are tender and the pasta is al dente, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove and discard the bay leaves, and squeeze in juice from ½ lemon. Stir, then ladle into warmed serving bowls. Pass the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, black pepper, and salt.