Minestrone with ears

Yesterday was a decently nice day.  Sunny for parts of the day and above freezing.  Of course, other parts were overcast and windy. So, a nice hearty soup was in order. Also some freshly baked bread.

It certainly is spring, but those moments of “it’s time to run around outside with few layers on” are often thrown back in your face, like the fact that we’re supposed to get some snow accumulations today.  😦  A nice hearty pick me up type of meal was the ticket, and minestrone soup was going to be our vehicle.

Something about the day seemed to put everyone into a crappy mood. Don't they all look like not very happy campers?

So, baking bread has been very nice with our new setup, a nice spandy area for the grain mill and stand mixer.

Our new kitchen space.

I made the oatmeal sandwich bread from Diary of a Locavore’s post.  Mm… oats.

Zorro Wheat, Red Winter Wheat and Rolled Oats....

While bread was rising, I set out to make some hand shaped pasta to go along with the planned minestrone soup.  After thinking about it, I knew exactly what type of hand made pasta would be most appropriate for dinner after a long day.  One that could listen to your woes.  Orecchiette.  Little ears.

Little pasta ears. Very cute.

Orecchiette mean “little ears” and is an italian pasta that is pretty easy to make, nothing like garganeli or other cute little shaped pastas.  You take your pasta dough and roll it into a long thin roll.  Or in my case a rather thick roll.

My long roll of dough on the left, with little ears on the right.

With a sharp knife, you cut small slices off the the roll.

Sliced pasta dough.

You then put a lot of flour in your non-dominant hand (usually left) and lay a slice on top.  Then press your dominants hand’s thumb into the slice, pressing down to make the dough thinner in the middle than the edges.

Like so.

Then you just do that a lot.  And get lots of cute ears. All ready to hear your woes, and cute enough to let you forget about them.

Orecchiette. See the variable sizes. Although little italian grandmothers may be appauled, I think it adds charm.

After forming the pasta, I just let it sit out for the rest of dinner prep time, drying out slightly.  Apparently it helps the fresh pasta from sticking to eachother when cooked.  I then began to assemble the rest of my minestrone soup.  I had soaked beans over night and boiled them for 30 minutes in the morning with some kombu, and they were pretty tender already.

A combination of cranberry and money beans, soaking.

I got the rest of the ingredients out and began to prep.

Onion, Rutabaga, Celeriac, Carrot and Cabbage.

The minestrone recipe I followed loosely for dinner included red cabbage.  This was one of the reasons I decided to make minetrone soup to begin with.  Red Cabbage Minestrone…. nom.

Red Cabbage from Red Fire Farm. I still love the way the inside looks, when sliced.

Here is my Red Cabbage Minestrone with Ears Recipe: (serves 4)

  • 1/2 cup of wine, plus a glass (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of bacon fat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of chopped rutabaga
  • 1/4 a celeriac, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 a head of small red cabbage, sliced thinly, or shredded (if it’s a big cabbage, 1/4 a head)
  • 1 can (oz) of tomatoes
  • 1 cup of dried beans, that have soaked overnight and been preboiled to tenderness
  • 2 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 servings of pasta, maybe even homemade orecchiette (not four whole servings since you’ll be having bread too)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Grated cheese and Bread

    All the veggies and liquid assembled for some simmering.


  1. Drink some of the optional wine before beginning.
  2. Heat bacon fat in a big pot.
  3. Add the chopped onion and saute until transluscent.
  4. Add the carrot, rutabaga, cabbage, and celeriac.Stir.
  5. Add tomatoes, wine, and stock.
  6. Cover and bring to a boil.
  7. Then agressively simmer (depending how quickly you want it done) for about 20 minutes.
  8. Cook the pasta in boiling water until done.  Drain and reserve.
  9. Once the root vegetables are getting tender, add the drained beans salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Let simmer until beans and vegetables are nice and tender.
  11. Stir in pasta, turn off heat and let cool.
  12. Serve with bread and shredded cheese.  Nom.

The cute oatmeal sandwich bread rolls to go along with soup.

The final meal: Red Cabbage Minestrone Soup with Whole Wheat Homemade Orecchiette, with Whole Wheat Oatmeal Sandwich Rolls and Grated Atwell's Gold Cheese.

Delightful little round pastas with tender beans, robust red cabbage, all in a hearty broth.

Might I say, the meal was delicious.   I will say that the cabbage made it very different from your run of the mill minestrone, but it was a really great combination.  After some wine, and ears to hear us whine, and full bellies, we were starting to feel a little more human.   Theresa wanted to make something for dessert, and so she endeavored to use some thawed shredded zucchini that we took out of our freezer stores yesterday. Mm… zucchini bread.

Theresa's zucchini bread, before baking. Los of zucchini, little bread. Nom.

When I asked her how she made the zucchini bread, she said “I just followed a Nikki and David Goldbeck Recipe”  and then said “and then I just reduced the amount of sugar, oil, and flour, and increased the amount of zucchini, and I also added some molasses.”  So we got ‘Theresa’s Extra Zucchini’ Zucchini Bread.  She also took some almonds and taza chocolate and chopped it up and sprinkled it on top.  Oh my, was it alluring.

Zucchini bread with almonds and chocolate topping.

We ate it with sme vanilla Batch Ice Cream.  Oh was it good.

Theresa's Whole Wheat Extra Zucchini Zucchini Bread with Almonds Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream.

After all of that baking, and yumminess, we were settling into the evening quite happily.  Just compare this picture from the first one.  And even Fitzwilliam looks like he might be mildly enjoying being picked up.

The 'after' picture of being fed good wholesome local food.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Local Sources:

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