Since we've moved to Newton we haven't really gone beyond our immediate neighborhood too much. We've visited the famous sights in Boston, and found a cannoli spot, but for the most part we stick to what we know. But since we had surprisingly nice weather here over the weekend, we decided to do some exploring.
We chose Coolidge Corner in Brookline as our first spot, since it's close to us and also because everyone tells us we should check it out. So we headed out on Saturday, got beer and snacks at the Regal Beagle, saw Argo at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, had sushi at Shiki, and finally got ice cream at J.P. Lick's. The highlight was definitely the theatre: It's independent, so it had a better vibe than the typical AMC or Regal theatre. Argo was definitely worth seeing - all the more exciting because it's based on a true story. And who wouldn't like a glass of wine with a movie?
So it was a great day, but after homemade eggs benedict for breakfast Sunday morning, we felt like we needed a detox. So for dinner I just made a simple, light soup with things we had in the cupboards.
It's my take on an Italian white bean soup. It has a pretty classic taste, but it's oh so comforting - and with all those veggies, it's also a healthier, lighter dinner option.
Italian white bean soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, minced
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 Tbsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper
2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 lb can chopped tomatoes
1 3-lb can chicken broth
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 15 oz cans cannellini beans
1 bag baby spinach
In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions, stir a few minutes until onions are soft. Add herbs, salt and pepper, stir about a minute. Add potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes, stir a few minutes. Add broth, red pepper flakes and beans. Bring to a boil; let simmer for 45 minutes or so. Near the end, add the spinach.
Since I had one, I also added a parmesan rind. It adds a nice flavor; but if you don't have one lying around that's ok (I keep them in my freezer for situations like these).
Serve hot, sprinkled with a little grated parmesan.