Grilled Minestrone Soup
This is a great way to use up any left over grilled vegetables and sausages. If the tomatoes in your grocery store have the winter blahs, substitute a 28 ounce tin of tomatoes. For a vegetarian alternative, omit the sausage and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock.
1 doz plum tomatoes, halved
2 carrots, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, cut in large chunks
1 large onion, peeled and sliced thickly
3 tbsp olive oil
4 Italian sausages
3/4 cup macaroni pasta, cooked according to package directions until al dente
12 cups chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 bay leaf
1 can kidney beans
1 small bunch fresh basil, chopped
1 small bunch fresh oregano, chopped
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Slice tomatoes in half and gently remove the seeds with your fingers. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and place cut side down on paper towels to drain for 2hour. Preheat barbecue on MEDIUM.
Prepare carrots, zucchini, eggplant, red pepper and onion as directed above and toss all vegetables with olive oil. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water, and set aside.
Reduce barbecue heat to MEDIUM/LOW and place the sausages and all the vegetables except the garlic on the grill, and cook until vegetables are starting to soften. The vegetables will continue to soften in the soup, so they do not need to be completely cooked through. Meanwhile, bring stock to a boil in a large pot on the sideburner of the barbecue or on the stove. Add the minced garlic, oregano and bay leaf, and reduce heat to a simmer.
Transfer the grilled vegetables and sausage to a cutting board, and dice vegetables into bite-size pieces. You may want to remove the tomato skins before dicing them. Slice the sausages into 4" pieces, and add everything to the chicken stock. Simmer until the vegetables are soft and flavours are nicely combined, about 25 minutes.
Add the cooked pasta and drained beans and simmer for another 5 minutes to heat through. Add the chopped basil and oregano, season with salt and pepper and simmer for another minute. Serve steaming hot in warmed bowls, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.