First of all, Happy New Year! Dave and I spent the long weekend in New York City. And the first thing you’re probably thinking in response to that might be, You’re insane. What about the crowds?
Well, we weren’t feeling brave enough to head into Times Square and battle the crowd of nearly one million people who came out to see the ball drop. And we definitely weren’t interested in standing out in the bitter cold for hours, either.
We had a great weekend, though, filled with wonderful food and drinks to celebrate not just New Year’s Eve, but our 1 year anniversary and my (early) birthday. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too hard to get in or out of the city. For a holiday weekend, travel on all accounts went surprisingly smooth.
Sadly, I find myself now feeling ill with what I think might be a cold that was developing all last week in spite of all of my wishing that it wasn’t. The rest of this week isn’t getting any warmer, either. For my birthday on Saturday, it’s going to be a blustery zero degrees and probably colder than that with the windchill, well into the negative single (and maybe double?) digits. Joy.
Days like these call for something hot and comforting to take off the chill. Cannellini beans (white beans), frozen spinach, and a mirepoix of fresh vegetables (onions, carrots, and celery) are always well-stocked in my pantry to make soups and other meals that are always favorites to eat and quickly assembled.
This recipe uses leftover red wine for added depth of flavor. If you don’t have any or would prefer not to use it, it’s fine to just add extra vegetable or chicken broth. Likewise, a Parmesan cheese rind is nice to add in here, but don’t sweat it if you don’t have one to spare.
P.S. I’m transitioning all of the recipes over to a new plug-in tool as of today, so this one and others may look different as I’m getting them moved over. Let me know what you think of the new look and functionality.
A simple and comforting dish using pantry ingredients. Serve piping hot with crusty garlic bread or toasted sourdough bread and butter.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 carrots diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 3 celery ribs diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp dried salt-free Italian herb blend (a mixture of basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, sage, and oregano)
- ½ tsp dried red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 16 oz cans cannelini beans
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (from a box or homemade, can also use chicken broth)
- ½ cup dry red wine (Suggested: Apothic Dark)
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh or frozen spinach thawed and drained
- 1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a soup pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until starting to become and fragrant, about 5-10 minutes.
Add more olive oil if the bottom of the pan looks too dry. Add tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and pepper flakes. Stir and let cook another minute or two until the tomato paste starts to fry and caramelize a little, scraping the bottom. periodically so it dosn't stick and burn.
Drain and rinse cannelini beans and add to pot along with bay leaves, cherry tomatoes, spinach, chicken broth, and wine. Add Parmesan cheese rind, if you have one and are using.
Cook 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are soft, stirring periodically and adding more chicken broth or wine if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
You can use fresh or frozen spinach in this recipe. If using fresh, wait until the last 15 minutes of cooking before adding it.