I’m not going to get too preachy with this post because the fact is there are plenty of times when I do not follow my own advice. I’m writing this as a reminder for myself as much as I am writing to share with you.
My message today? Keep homemade stock on hand.
I just made this roasted vegetable stock and it was super easy. I didn’t have to mess with bones or let it simmer for hours and hours and I was still able to walk away with a big batch of stock that is going to improve the flavor of all of my upcoming soups, stew, risottos, Thanksgiving stuffing, braises, and more.
I know, right? We want those dishes to be the best they can be. We better get started. Raid your veggie drawer. Carrots, celery, onion. Aromatics, a little this, a little that.
Chop the vegetables and take them from raw and crunchy…
…to dark, shriveled, caramelized and intense.
Now we’re ready to make a rich vegetable stock. Put it all together, add some water, boil, simmer.
Let it bubble away until the liquid is a delicious shade of brown.
Now you’re ready to strain and divide between freezer-safe containers.
Hurray, we just made a whole bunch of upcoming meals better and it barely took any effort. We should do this all the time. We should celebrate with a quick bowl of minestra.
Minestra is the quickest, most comforting, homey bowl of soup you could ever want on a chilly day. All you have to do is saute a little pestata (a vegetable paste that is used as the soup base), add a little tomato paste, simmer with broth. Easy. You could add some small pasta or beans and although I’m no linguist, I think your minestra would become a minestrone.
To make the pestata, all you have to do is throw some chopped veggies in a food processor and pulse until you have a thick paste.
Pack the pestasta into ice cube trays and freeze. Between your pre-portioned pestata and all your wonderful stock, you can have a quick vegetable soup anytime you like. Add some pasta or beans for a more substantial meal.
Simmer and you’re done.
- 8 Carrots
- 4 Celery Stalks
- 4 Onions
- 1 Leek
- Other Vegetable Trimmings (I used some scrubbed squash peels)
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 1 bunch Parsley
- 8 Sage Leaves
- 4 sprigs Thyme
- 6 Bay Leaves
- ½ tsp. Whole Black Peppercorns
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Wash and coarsely chop vegetables. Toss chopped vegetables and garlic with a little olive oil and a light sprinkling of salt and roast on a baking sheet until dark and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Stir a few times while roasting to prevent vegetables from sticking to pan.
- Place roasted vegetables in stock pot, add aromatics, 1 tsp. salt, and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer 45 minutes or until the stock is deep brown and richly flavored.
- Strain stock. Season lightly with additional salt, if desired. Stock can be used immediately or frozen for future use.
- 2 Carrots
- 2 Stalks of Celery (leaves included)
- 2 Onions
- 4 cloves Garlic
- Tomato Paste
- Pasta (something small like Acini di Pepe or Ditilini), if desired
- Beans (Cannellini, Garbanzo, etc), if desired
- Coarsely chop vegetables and puree in food processor to create a thick paste (pestata).
- The pestata can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen in small portions.
- To make the minestra, heat some olive oil in a saucepan, add pestata, season with salt, and saute until golden. You may have to add a bit of water if your pestata is frozen. Add a little tomato paste and allow to caramelize briefly before adding broth. Simmer together, season with salt and pepper as needed. Add a small pasta or beans for a more substantial meal and top with grated Parmesan.