Monday, January 26, 2015

The Ultimate Comfort Soup

Maybe it's because it's the deep, dark winter, but I've been savoring the comfort food lately.  I mean, really savoring it.  The simple pleasure of a delicious meal prepared in my own kitchen has been a freaking God-send lately.

Could it be because it's been nothing but dark, dreary, overcast, and rainy for weeks upon weeks?  Upon weeks!  It's bordering on ridiculous.  And it's getting old.  Oh, rain is in the forecast for tomorrow?  And the next day?  And the next 12 days after that?  Soooper.

I guess I needed a weather-themed mini rant. - Although, we did just have a sunny, crisp, blue skied weekend and had a nice change of pace with some snow today.  Brightens up the landscape, for sure.

Let me reel myself back in to the topic at hand - which also helps to lift the crushing effect of the non-stop rain & dreariness:  Ina Garten's Winter Minestrone is OUTstanding.  We're talking top notch.  The best.  Second to none.  The bees knees!  Come on, how can I resist the opportunity to bust out with the bees knees?  Yet another phrase that I can't help but wonder about the origin of.  But again, I digress.

Ina's Winter Minestrone recipe is one of my all time favorite Minestrone recipes. It's so flavorful!  You can get the recipe here if you're interested in giving it a go. - Which you should if you're looking for a hearty soup for a chilly weekend night. I think the only soup that might top this one for me these days is a kick-ass homemade chicken noodle soup. 

Full disclosure, there's a fair amount of prep work as far as chopping veggies, but the end result is well worth the time and effort.  Definitely a weekend undertaking - not a quick, easy week night meal.

Here's the gist of what you'll need to pull this one off:

I love how colorful and aromatic the veggies get when they're all combined together and getting happy with the olive oil & spices.  The butternut squash is the "winter" veggie that makes the soup a little different than your standard minestrone.  But man, what a pain in the ass is it to peel and chop those mothers!  Pretty sure I curse all throughout the process. 

But, I think the real secret ingredients are the pesto and white wine added right before serving.  They add an excellent depth to the flavor of the soup.  The very last ingredient to add is the spinach, and I love how vibrantly green it looks:

It's one of those soups that gets in my head and I crave if I think about it for long enough.  I find myself making it a few times each winter.  The chunky vegetables, the texture, the flavor?  It's the best.  I've said it before, but Ina knows what's up in the kitchen.  Here's our Ina Garten's Winter Minestrone with garlic bruschetta, ready to get gobbled up:

How can you resist giving it a go after looking at that bowl full o' love?  You won't regret it.  And I bet it'll brighten that winter malaise if you've got that going on.  (Shush, Floridians) From my kitchen in the deep, dark Alaskan winter to yours...xoxo.

Ta-ta for now.

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