OCI’s Italian minestrone soup from the summer garden

A serving of OCI’s Summer garden minestrone ready for the table.

This hearty soup, a favorite at the October Country Inn, that serves about 8, is replete with fresh vegetables that are typically harvested from the Summer garden.  Of course, you can get some or all of them as well from the local Farmer’s Market, or grocery.  After initial preparation, this soup is cooked in two stages.  The first stage is to saute one group of the vegetables.  The second stage is to add the squash and beans to the cooked broth to avoid overcooking them.

Ingredients are:

  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise, then chop crosswise into 1/4 inch wide chunks
  • 1 rib celery, halved lengthwise, then chop crosswise into 1/4 inch wide chunks
  • 1 carrot, peeled halved or quartered lengthwise, then chop crosswise into 1/4 inch wide chunks
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into quarters lengthwise, then cored and seeded and sliced lengthwise into 3/8 inch wide strips,  then chop crosswise into 1/4 inch wide chunks
  • 6 plumb tomatoes, trim stem end and halve, then core and seed, then slice halves lengthwise into thirds, then chop crosswise in half
  • 1/4 pounds green beans, trim ends as needed and cut crosswise into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 zucchini, trim ends and quarter lengthwise, then chop crosswise into 3/8 inch wide chunks
  • 1 yellow squash, trim ends and quarter lengthwise, then chop crosswise into 3/8 inch wide chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme

Vegetables separated into groups after being chopped. Three tomato halves at bottom shown trimmed, cored, and seeded but before lengthwise slicing and chopping.

First chop leeks, celery, carrots, and green pepper as indicated.  Add minced garlic and keep this group of vegetables separate.  Chop zucchini, yellow squash, and green beans and keep these vegetables separate from the first batch.  Chop tomatoes as indicated and keep separate from the other two groups.

In a pot large enough to hold everything, saute leeks, carrots, green pepper and garlic in the olive oil over low/medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes.  Add tomatoes and stir.  Heat everything for another couple of minutes until the tomatoes release their juices.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes.

At this point, you can put the soup aside for a hour or less if you’re not going to serve the soup right away.  About 15 minutes before serving, bring soup back to a boil then add zucchini, yellow squash, green beans and spices.  When the soup comes back to a boil, turn off the heat and let steep for about 5 minutes before serving.