Every Wednesday we share a staff lunch. Everybody takes a turn bringing lunch. Now, it’s always a challenge to think up a good lunch to bring. You have to come up with a creative lunch that will feed about 10 people, and that can be cooked without a lot of attention (we still have to teach kids during that time!).
Today I made minestrone. Minestrone is an Italian soup that is used to basically clean out the fridge! It has a bit of everything in it! It is a great soup for a cold night in January. My soup is not authentic because it has sausage in it. You do not need to add sausage in the soup, but it really adds a lot of spicy, meaty flavour. You can add any type of pasta that is broken into small pieces.
I used mostly frozen and canned vegetables in my soup today. They have good flavour, as they are preserved at their peak in the season. Obviously, it would be better to use fresh, in season veggies, but as it’s January, frozen and canned are good.
When you buy Parmesan cheese, it has a rind on it (unless you buy the kind in the can. Please don’t. Buy fresh, and grate it yourself!). You can add this rind to minestrone and remove it before serving the soup. The rind adds a lot of rich flavour to the soup. I forgot to bring some Parmesan to school today as a garnish, but it is delicious on top of the soup.
Now, when I got home, I had to put the leftover minestrone into plastic containers for lunch tomorrow. When I was opening the cupboards, I learned why you should always secure packages shut…
Yes, I dumped a whole package of spaghetti on the floor. It is quite a nice modern art sculpture though. I may be on to something…
adapted from Company’s Coming Garden Greens
makes about 12 cups
500g pkg Italian sausages, casings removed (either hot or mild, depending on your taste)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz. can diced tomatoes (can also use fresh tomatoes)
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup very small pasta
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
10 0z box frozen chopped spinach (can also use fresh)
1-1/2 cups chopped green beans (I used frozen)
1 cup frozen peas
Cook sausages in a medium frying pan on medium heat until browned. Break up sausages as they cook into small pieces.
Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium-low. Add onion, green pepper, celery and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes, until onion is tender.
Add sausage and tomatoes, chicken broth, pasta, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add spinach, beans and peas. Heat and stir for 5 to 7 minutes or until everything is warmed through.
Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and pesto. Yum!
Have a great night!
The Hungry Teacher