Posted by Dave in

Whatchagot Soups

Most of my soups are of the “Whatchagot” variety. That is, it is less of a planned recipe than an adaptation of what is in the fridge, what’s fresh what’s in season. Come to think of it, that’s really true of most of my daily cooking. Still, I try to remember and write down what I did when something was tasty, or quick or had some special redeeming quality. Then I try to figure out a way to simplify it just in case your fridge is not currently stocked with just the proper leftovers, but you feel the need for, say… minestrone. I guess what I am saying is don’t be afraid to improvise and play around with your cooking. The only real test is in the eating, and although that can be subjective, nobody has studied your family like you have. (Plus, if it’s the only thing you are cooking that night, they’ll pretty much have to eat it! I’m just sayin…).

The following recipe for minestrone is adapted from just such an evening, but since I try to cook with the healthiest ingredients, even leftovers are reasonably tasty and nutritious. I give ingredients and quantities only as a guideline here, to give you a feel for the goal, if you have leftover cabbage that is already cooked, for instance, you can obviously skip that step. But let me know how you improved it, or share you other culinary adventures with me either by email at heydave@backpackbistro.com or in the comments below.


  • 8-10 large ripe plum tomatoes (or a couple of 14oz. cans, or some leftover sauce…)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2-3 onions
  • 4-5 stalks of celery (especially the outer stingy hard stuff, and use the leaves too!)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBS olive oil, plus extra for finishing
  • 1 small cabbage, chopped
  • 3 cups stock (any kind beef, chicken, ham, vegetable, even seasoned water in a pinch- homemade if possible though)
  • 1 cup cooked pasta (leftover any kind, broken spaghetti, even make a batch)
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked dried beans (or a 16oz can)
  • Basil, rosemary, parmesan or Romano cheese
Cut up the onions and celery, maybe ¼ in dice or so and sauté along with carrots in the olive oil and perhaps a bit of rosemary until the colors brighten and they are softened. Roughly chop and add the tomatoes and garlic. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, then add the stock and bring up to a boil, then simmer for 15 or 20 minutes. Add the cabbage cover, and simmer, a bit slower now, until the vegetable are nearly as soft as you like them. Add the pasta, then uncover and cook the rest of the way, while letting the broth reduce and thicken.

Serve in nice deep bowls, with some good crusty, even slightly stale bread, (especially homemade bread, with homemade butter). Garnish with a bit more olive oil, chopped basil, and the grated cheese.

Hit the TIP JAR!
Thank You!

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 9:02 PM and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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