The temperature has followed the clock's lead, and has turned back a notch. It's officially cold outside, and we're ready for soup season.
There is something terribly soothing about minestrone soup--- regardless of your age, curling up with a bowl of hearty soup is as if you're being cuddled from the inside.
1 pound lean ground meat: pork, beef, or turkey. I used beef.
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup chopped carrot
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced or stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 cups beef broth
2/3 cup dried elbow pasta (to add later; I used Tinkyada brand which is gluten free)
kosher salt (add to taste at the table)
Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Brown the first four ingredients on the stovetop, and drain the fat. I know, I hate cooking before I cook too, but this is a good thing because you're draining the rendered grease/fat.
Add meat to the slow cooker, and your vegetables. Add the whole can of tomatoes, the oregano, and beef broth. Stir to combine. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours. 30 minutes before serving, stir in the dry pasta. Flip to high, and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until pasta has become bite-tender.
Serve in wide-mouthed bowls with a bit of shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.
I served this soup last week to my family of five, my parents, and my grandma. We didn't have any leftovers. I am beginning to really prefer beef broth to chicken in my heartier soups that have tomatoes--- it's just a more rich flavor.
If you plan on freezing this soup, I wouldn't add the noodles until you reheat and serve; they'll break up on you in the freezer.
additional soup season favorites: