First up, minestrone with white kidney beans and orzo and chorizo. Topped with handfuls of chopped Thai basil. I'd had Thai basil with the Phos we can get at any of our local Vietnamese restaurants. It turned out to be spicier and even more fragrant than Italian basil, exquisite in this soup.
My "recipe," such as it is, was based on what was in the kitchen.
HALLIE'S MINESTRONE WITH THAI BASIL
(Generously serves 6 for dinner)
2 T olive oil
1 package (about 3/4 lb) of chorizo (Portuguese sausage - you can find it in the supermarket near the Kielbasa) cut into 1/2" pieces
1 large onion chopped
3 carrots chopped
3 stalks of celery (with the tops) chopped
1 can of large white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 large (~35 ounce) can of peeled WHOLE Italian tomatoes, cut up into pieces, along with whatever juice etc. is in the can with them
About 1/4 cup of uncooked orzo
4 cups of vegetable or beef (or mixed) broth
Chopped Thai basil
1. Do all the chopping and cutting up beforehand.
2. Over medium heat, sautee the chorizo in a large (~4 qt) pot until it's browned. Remove the chorizo from the pot and set aside. Leave all the brown bits and fat in the pot.
3. Add about 1/2 cup of broth to the hot pan, and as it bubbles, scrape up all the lovely brown bits so they're no longer sticking to the bottom of the pan.
4. Add chopped onion and carrot and celery to the scraped-up bits and cook until the onions are translucent.
5. Add tomatoes and juices from the tomato can and the rest of the broth to the pot; cook for about 45 minutes.
6. Return the chorizo to the soup along with uncooked orzo and drained kidney beans. Cook until the orzo is just done.
7. If it's too thick, add water.
8. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped Thai basil and grated Parmesan cheese.
Serve with crusty French bread.