I love big flavors — lemon, saffron, chili, wine. But my trip to Paris reminded how full of flavors vegetables are all by themselves — naturally. This comforting soup lets the vegetables do the talking and is perfect for that in-betweeny time when the calendar says spring but the thermometer still says winter.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 leek, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, chopped
- ½ pound mushrooms (about 2 cups), sliced
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 ribs celery plus celery leaves, chopped
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- ½ pound green beans (about 2 cups), chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup noodles
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat until the oil turns lustrous. Add chopped leek, garlic and carrots. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables relax and start to soften.
Add mushrooms, red pepper and celery and continue to cook, stirring now and again for another 10 minutes, letting vegetables caramelize.
Add broth, bring to boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and let soup simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
Add green beans and pasta and cook, covered, for another 10 to 15 minutes, until pasta is al dente, the beans are tender yet maintain their bright lively greenness, and the broth slightly thickened.
Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in the confetti of parsley and serve.
Ellen Kanner writes the Meatless Monday column for The Huffingon Post, is the Edgy Veggie, a syndicated columnist, and Dinner Guest blogger on Culinate. She is also a contributor to Bon Appetit, Relish, Eating Well, Vegetarian Times, More, the Miami Herald and regional publications across the country including Pebble Beach and Palm Beach Illustrated.