Slow Cooker Minstrone
Minestrone is essentially a peasant soup — very rustic and comforting. It is pronounced the way it is spelled; no long “o” and long “i”, and no silent “e”. Minestrone, for me, is an ideal make ahead soup. Throw everything in the slow cooker after lunch and it will be ready just in time for dinner.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon oregano crushed
- 4 to 5 sprigs fresh rosemary stripped
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups chopped tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 4 cups bone broth preferably homemade
- 3 to 4 garlicky sausages sliced into rings
- 2 cups cubed carrots
- 3 to 4 shredded cabbage
- 2 cups cubed zucchini
- Heat the olive oil in a small pan.
- Add the onion, garlic and oregano. Saute until softened.
- Transfer the sauteed vegetables, with the oil, into the slow cooker.
- Add the rosemary, bay leaves, tomatoes, tomato paste and broth. Stir.
- Taste. Add salt and pepper.
- Throw in the sliced sausages, carrot cubes and shredded cabbage.
- Switch on the slow cooker to low and cook for three hours.
- Taste the broth. If too bland, add salt or pepper, or both, as needed.
- Stir in the zucchini cubes and continue cooking for another hour.
- Best enjoyed with buttered crusty bread.
After four hours in the slow cooker, the minestrone can be served. The vegetables will be fully cooked but still retain a little crispiness. If you prefer a mushier minestrone, cook for another two hours. Can minestrone be cooked on the stovetop? Sure. But the long and low temperature cooking in a slow cooker yields better results with the flavors from the various ingredients being drawn out for a magnificently tasty broth.
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