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.
When you want soup just pop a pestata cube into a saucepan with a little olive oil and saute until it takes on color, add a squirt of tomato paste, and broth.
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.
Nicole @ Lapetitebaker says
Since it’s been raining in Seattle the past five days, this soup looks mighty good. And easy. Thanks for the great recipe!
It’s not fancy or complicated, but sometimes it’s just what you need on a rainy day.
Favorite soup when I am sick! And I am “sick” today, therefore I must make it. I will never forget when I fell in love with minestra, Zia Mariana’s kitchen when I was 5.
Me, too. We had it almost everyday and it was so yummy. Feel better!