I must say that Spring and Fall are my favorite times of year. I love the changing of the seasons, how you can visibly watch the earth prepare for what is coming next. I also think that Spring and Fall are my favorite because they don't seem to last as long as Summer and Winter do. I know they technically last the same duration, but it doesn't feel that way. You never hear people complain "I wish Spring was over!" or "Man, I can't wait for Fall to end!" This is probably due to the fact that there aren't any long extremes during these seasons - no unending heat wave or one snow storm after the other. Fall and Spring are all about change, and the weather continually changes with them. One of the things I love is how crazy the weather is! Take this week for instance. Today is 65 and gorgeous, but in two days time we are supposed to get 3" of snow. And so for Spring I bring you a Fall soup! This is probably one of my new favorite soups of all time. It is loaded with good stuff and tastes so delicious! Plus I like that it makes exactly 4 servings, so you don't have to feel like you are feeding an army because you made soup. You can make this two ways - you can either use peeled cubed butternut squash and end up with a more "soup" like consistency, or you can use pureed squash (check your freezer isle!) like I did here and end up with a more "stew" like bowl. Either way is delicious!
Root Vegetable Minestrone with Bacon (Cooking Light, March 2014)
5 slices bacon, chopped
1 1/3 cup chopped peeled butternut squash (or you can use pureed squash for more of a stew)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2/3 cup peeled, chopped carrot
1/2 cup peeled, chopped parsnip
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp dried basil1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 tsp unsalted tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 2/3 cup unsalted chicken stock
1/4 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
3/4 cup unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
In a large dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp.
Remove bacon from pan and reserve 1 TBSP of drippings in pan.
Increase the heat to medium-high and sauté the butternut squash, onion, carrot, parsnip, celery, basil, thyme, and garlic for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken stock, scraping the pan to loosen any brown bits on the bottom.
Stir in the tomato paste.
Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the uncooked pasta and cook another 10 minutes.
Stir in the cannellini beans, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, or until all the vegetables and pasta are tender.
Divide the soup among 4 bowls, top with bacon and Enjoy!