Minestrone with Tomatoes and Rice
- SERVINGS: 4-6
At Osteria al Doge in New York City, Luca Marcato's minestrone is lightly thickened with arborio rice, which cooks in the soup along with a multitude of colorful vegetables.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 medium Idaho potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
- 1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch dice
- 1 small yellow squash, cut into 1-inch dice
- 1 Japanese eggplant or 1/2 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 cup arborio rice
- One 28-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 small stalk of broccoli— cut into 1-inch florets, stem peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 small head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
- 1 medium celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 cup frozen baby peas
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonreactive saucepan. Add the onion and red bell pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the carrot, potato, zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
- Add the rice to the saucepan and toss well to coat the grains with oil. Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the crushed red pepper and 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the broccoli, cauliflower, celery and peas and cook, stirring, until all the vegetables and the rice are tender, about 35 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve, passing the Parmesan cheese at the table.
This soup needs only a simple, straightforward dry red that will complement its mild vegetable flavors instead of competing with them. A young, fresh Rioja from Spain would work particularly well.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.