Are you drowning in zucchini? Crushed under carrots?
It’s that time of year when your garden goes wild, which is good news as well as bad news. You’ve given away your veggies, you’ve eaten them in every way possible and now you just need to get rid of the suckers. Luckily, our gardener’s minestrone is the perfect use for any veggies you’ve got in your garden. The recipe below is really just a guideline. If you’ve got yellow squash instead of zucchini, chuck it in. Have fennel? Substitute it for an onion. Skinned and seeded tomatoes are also a fantastic addition – let your extra vegetables guide you as you make the most of the work you put into your garden this summer.
The base of ground beef, bacon, bay and fresh herbs is the perfect foundation for any and all veggies. Randall Mixed Beans and your favorite small pasta or rice add bulk and heft to this dish, meaning no one will walk away hungry.
What’s growing in your garden right now?
Gardener?s Catchall Bean Minestrone
- Oil, for greasing the sauté pan
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion, not chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 pound bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch rounds
- 4 carrots, scraped and finely chopped
- 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch dice
- 4 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch dice
- 6 ounces Randall Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 small head cabbage, preferably savoy, cored and finely shredded (about 1 pound)
- 1 small bunch escarole, finely shredded
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta, anellini rings, or partially cooked rice
- 1 48-ounce jar Randall Mixed Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- Lightly grease a large sauté pan and brown the beef, stirring with a fork to crumble the meat, about 5 minutes. Add the unchopped onion, bay leaf, parsley leaves, celery leaves, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain into a large bowl, reserving the liquid for broth and discarding the solid ingredients.
- Meanwhile, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the bacon, chopped onion, celery, and garlic and sauté until all the ingredients are wilted, about 8 minutes. Add the sausage, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, Randall Beans, cabbage, escarole, and reserved broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the pasta and 2 to 3 cups more water if necessary so there is enough liquid to cover the ingredients well. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes more, until the pasta is done. Stir in the remaining teaspoon of the salt and cayenne and serve right away.