Minestrone Soup (in the Slow Cooker!)

Will someone please put this argument to rest once and for all: Fifty percent of the people who ate this meal (me) think it’s pronounced minestrone (no eeeeeeeeee) while the other fifty percent of the people who ate this meal (achem, Robert) think it’s pronounced minestroneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Anyone? Anyone? Maybe Giada could weigh in.

No matter what you call it, I was pretty darn pleased with how this soup turned out.  I’m no stranger to minestrone soup, but this was the first time I ever made it in the slow cooker. Why that’s awesome: It allowed me to use dried beans (so much better for you than the sodium-laden kind that come in a can crawling with the endocrine-disrupting chemical BPA), but without babysitting a pot on the stove for three or more hours. Slow cooker recipes rock for that very reason–lifting the lid disrupts the cooking process (because it allows steam to escape) so it practically forces you to spend your misty Sunday doing other things for about seven hours. Some suggestions for how to pass the time: Develop an obsession with Pinterest (I think I need a Pintervention) and watch Midnight in Paris. Just in case you were wondering.

Lately, I’ve been making a big pot of soup on Sundays and eating it for lunch throughout the week–an easy and delicious way to gobble up a heap of veggies at one time. As a matter of fact, I’m going to warm up a bowl of this minestrone right now. Mmmmmm.

Minestrone Soup (in the Slow Cooker!)

Ingredients
1 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1  (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup dried cannellini beans (directions for soaking below)
3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut into ribbons
1/2 cup small pasta such as mini elbows
salt and pepper

Preparation
To soak the beans: Place 1 cup of dried beans in a bowl and cover with water so water comes several inches above beans. Leave bowl, uncovered, out overnight. Drain before using.

To make the soup: Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and some salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until onion is softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can place onion, garlic, oil, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a bowl and microwave, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.) Whichever method you choose, once onion has softened, transfer mixture to slow cooker.

Add broth, tomatoes, soaked and drained beans, and carrots into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 5 to 7 hours.

Stir in zucchini, chard, and pasta. Cover and cook on high until vegetables are tender and pasta is cooked, about 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Slow Cooker Revolution

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