Nothing says "The Old Country" quite like Minestrone. It takes a few tweaks to make it Paleo friendly, but it can be done. Soup warms the soul, especially on days like these. My goodness, it must be 65 degrees outside! We are all going to freeze!
Like most of my recipes, this one is meant to be fast and flavorful. With just about 10 minutes of prep you can let this one go all day on low flame or in the crockpot. That means more time for the glamorous things in life like doing the dishes and folding clothes. Yep... livin' the dream, baby!
What you'll need:
1/2 pound of pancetta (Italian bacon) - or protein of your choice
Italian turkey sausage is a really good alternative
1 large zucchini, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 head green cabbage, diced
1 bag fresh spinach
2 -3 cloves minced garlic
6 cups chicken stock (low sodium, gluten free)
3 cups chopped tomatoes (low sodium)
1 cup water
1T Italian seasoning
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
For my non-Paleo crowd: you can add a cup of macaroni, some diced potato(you may need up to 2 cups more stock to counter the starch), chopped green beans, or anything else you can think of. Let your imagination run wild! No that does not include Hugh Jackman stirring the soup in nothing but a loin cloth. Get your mind out of the gutter!
What you do:
Chop the pancetta into small chunks. Get a large pot nice and hot with some olive oil. Put the pancetta in and fry it until crisp. Now add all your veggies except the zucchini and spinach on top of the pancetta. Saute them slightly, keeping their crunch. Add the garlic and saute a minute more being careful not to burn the garlic. Get a cup of chicken stock and poor it over the veggies. As it is sizzling away, take a wooden spoon and scrape the bottom of the pot. Get all those browned bits of yumminess off the bottom of the pot. That is pure flavor joy right there. Scrape away, don't be shy. Can you smell heaven unfolding before you? Ahhh, food is love*.
*Disclaimer: This statement has not been evaluated by the sane and in control. It should have read, "Some food is love". Example: Paleo Minestrone = love. Pizza = that bad stalker boyfriend that won't leave you alone and keeps showing up in your flower bed.
Ok, back to reality. You can do a couple of things here. If you are home for a while you can add the rest of the stock, water, tomatoes and spices to the pot and turn the flame down super low. Cover the pot and simmer forever. If you aren't going to be home transfer everything into the crockpot, put it on low and walk away.
10 minutes before you serve the soup bring it back to a boil (or high on crockpot) and add your spinach and zucchini. It will cook down quickly. Spoon the soup into a bowl while belting out the hallelujah chorus. If you sing like I do, make sure no one is listening and your windows are closed. Top with fresh, chopped parley. Inhale the glorious scent and know that you are nourishing yourself and your family from the heart.