Vegetable Minestrone with Parsley Parmesan Puree

 

springtime vegetable soup, carrots, white beans, parsley and Parmesan cheese puree on top

Bright orange carrots, a light tomato broth with beans and sausage. All of this topped off with a springtime green parsley and Parmesan cheese puree.  What more could you want other than for the snow to hurry up and melt?

I am sure I can speak for everyone here on Cape Cod,  “If I hear talk of another            “Nor’easter” predicted this month, I am going to scream!”  So, here’s to the arrival of Spring.  At least it says so on the calendar, even if the weather doesn’t want to cooperate!

Vegetable Minestrone with Parsley Parmesan Puree

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 Italian chicken sausages, taken out of the casings

4 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2  15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1  14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1  14.5 oz. can tomato puree

4 cups chicken broth

1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional)

salt and pepper

1 medium sized zucchini, chopped

Place a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add olive oil and sausage.  Chop up the sausage with a spoon as it browns, 5-7 minutes.  Add the carrots, celery and onion.  Continue to cook for 5 more minutes until the onion softens.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic, beans, tomatoes, chicken broth and Parmesan rind (if using).  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes until the carrots begin to soften.  Add the zucchini and heat for 10 more minutes.  Remove Parmesan  rind.  Serve topped with Parsley Parmesan Puree (recipe below) and crusty bread.

Parsley Parmesan Puree

leaves from one large bunch of parsley

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Puree until smooth.  Use as topping for soups or as a vegetable dip.  Can also be eaten by the spoonful.

 

 

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Chicken and White Bean Chili with Green Onion and Parmesan Crostini

White bean chili with chicken sausage and parmesan crostini

If you are looking for a hearty soup that is not too heavy, this one is the perfect solution to your problem.  Browned ground chicken and onions with all the spices you love in a good, stick to your ribs chili.  Cannellini beans and Swiss chard give this soup and Italian twist.  Top it off with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.  An untraditional crostini with green onions, chive, cream cheese and more Parmesan bring it all together into a satisfying meal.

The first time I made this was in 2012 when I saw an episode of Giada De Laurentiiis’ cooking show on the Food Network at that time.  She also served it with a crostini but I cannot seem to find that recipe, so I had to riff on it, instead.  Everytime I make this easy to put together soup and bread combination, I get rave reviews.  I should take this one out more often!

Chicken and White Bean Chili

(serves about 6)

(adapted from White Bean and Chicken Chili by Giada De Laurentiis, 2012)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds ground chicken or turkey or a combination

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

3 teaspoons chili powder

3 tablepsoons flour

2 (15 oz. cans) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 bunch (about 1 pound) swiss chard, stems removed, chopped to 1 inch pieces

1 1/2 cups frozen corn

4 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

black pepper

Parmesan cheese

chopped parsley

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds.  Add the ground meat, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, oregano, and chili powder.  Cook, stirring frequently until the meat is browned and cooked through about 8-10 minutes.  Stir the flour into the meat mixture.  Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn and chicken stock.  Bring mixture to a simmer, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Simmer for about 50-60 minutes until liquid reduces and the chili is thickened.  Add the red pepper flakes, taste for seasoning and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Serve with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Green Onion and Parmesan Crostini

1 (8 oz block) cream cheese, softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 green onions, diced

2 tablespoons chopped chives

12 slices baguette, on the diagonal for more surface area

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat boiler in oven.  In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, salt, pepper, green onions and chives.  Spread mixture on one side of each slice of bread.  Place bread on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle each slice with Parmesan cheese, making sure it adheres to cream cheese mixture.  Broil bread slices for 2-4 minutes until cheese melts and turns brown on edges.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.