What to Do With Leftover Soup: Buy It a Passport

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It's been colder than usual lately in Rome, so minestrone soup seemed like a good idea. And it's so easy for me to make, since the markets in Rome sell the vegetables already cut up and prepared, ready to go. But even minestrone from scratch, chopping up the veggies yourself, is well worth it: simple, healthy, and delicious.

If you think of minestrone as a blank canvas—a chunky broth if you will—then you can take it to Thailand, Brasil, Germany... anywhere your stomach desires.

And these are all the reasons I made a huge pot of minestrone the other day. That's the thing with minestrone. I always make a big pot, thinking, "I'll have it to eat for lunch the entire week." Well, who in their right mind wants to eat minestrone every day for a week? For a couple of days, okay. But then all the glamour and charm (if there ever was any?) wears off, and it's just vegetable soup. Again.

Freeze it, you say? Somehow I get even less excited about frozen minestrone I made months ago than three-day-old minestrone in the fridge.

Which is how I developed "bring your minestrone to an ethnic restaurant day." Because really, if you think of minestrone as a blank canvas—a chunky broth if you will—then you can take it to Thailand, Brasil, Germany... anywhere your stomach desires.

Lunch yesterday took me and my minestrone to Asia. Some soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame sauce added eastern flavor. A bit of scallions and basil, green freshness and crunch. Marinated tofu added texture and protein. And a last-minute dollop of garlic hot sauce spiced it up.

Tomorrow, Mexico?

Recipe: Asian Minestrone Soup

Serves 1

    • 2 cups leftover (or canned) minestrone
    • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoon fish sauce
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
    • 1 tablespoon chopped basil or coriander
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup cubed marinated tofu
    • 1 teaspoon Asian hot sauce

Heat minestrone up in a small pan, adding soy and fish sauce and sesame oil. When heated through, add tofu and turn off heat. Add lemon juice, stir and pour into bowl. Top with scallions, basil, and hot sauce.

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Elizabeth Helman Minchilli

Elizabeth Helman Minchilli is a Rome-based writer who contributes to over 40 publications including Food & Wine, Town & Country, the International Herald Tribune, and Architectural Digest. More

Elizabeth Helman Minchilli is a Rome-based writer who contributes to over 40 publications including Food & Wine, Town & Country, the International Herald Tribune, and Architectural Digest. She is the author of six books, including her most recent Italian Rustic: How to Bring Tuscan Charm into Your Home (Artisan 2009). Minchilli recently founded One Book Press (www.1bookpress.com), which produces custom-published, image-driven books. Her blog, www.elizabethminchilli.com, explores the good life, mostly in Italy.
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