Cozy Minestrone with Artichoke Hearts
extra flavorful base:
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 anchovies
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 shallot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 cups vegetable, chicken or garlic stock (I used Better than Bouillon Roasted Garlic Base)
- 1 onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 8 oz frozen quartered artichoke hearts defrosted at least most of the way
- 8 oz drained canned chickpeas
- 10 oz drained kidney beans
- 1 large russet potato, cubed
- 1 bunch mustard greens chopped
- 2 tablespoons canned Hatch green chiles
- 14 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons prepared pesto I used some from a shelf-stable jar from Aldi
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning I used a kind in a grinder that includes red pepper flakes
- 1 cup small pasta I used acini de pepe
for the super flavorful broth:
- Pulse the anchovy, garlic, shallot, olive oil, and tomatoes in a blender until nearly fully smooth. Stir into the broth/stock and set aside.
for the rest of the soup:
- In a very large pot, saute the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery until softened and fragrant, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add the stock mixture, artichokes, beans, potato, greens, chiles, and tomatoes, and simmer until the greens and artichokes are tender about 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in the pesto, seasoning, and pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente. Serve immediately.
- The anchovy, garlic, olive oil, tomato mixture from the soup base makes a great pizza sauce--no need to cook it! Double the recipe and keep half in a jar up to five days.
- Cook the pasta separately if you are planning to have leftovers so it doesn't soak up all the broth overnight. Or just thin the leftovers out with more stock or water when you go to serve.
I didn’t grow up in a house where we made soup. My grandpop would make beef stew fairly regularly but I think I was pretty much an adult before my mom made soup that wasn’t from a can. So like with a lot of my adventures in cooking I was starting from square one when I started cooking for myself. Minestrone is a soup we did (and I still do) make from a can now and again and I’ve always enjoyed it. Why not make a new version that’s more flavorful but very nearly as easy and filling enough to be a weeknight meal? Why not indeed.
The trick to minestrone soup, especially one that you are making in the dead of winter during a pandemic and thus is reliant on pantry ingredients, is to really layer the flavor. I start with a super savory, flavorful broth then stir in bold tasting mustard greens, a hint of chile, and at the end a dollop of pesto. Every bite was full of flavor. The beans, greens and artichoke heats provide the much-needed diversity of texture. I wish I had some good, crusty bread but it was filling enough for dinner as-is. I really loved it which was a good thing–it made a ton and I ended up having it three days in a row.