Nicole Richie loves to entertain, which is par for the course when you count Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson among your inner circle. And when it comes to feeding these A-list friends during the colder months, the designer-slash-reality TV star favors one recipe in particular: this minestrone soup. "Not only is it easy to make—it tastes even better after it sits in the fridge a day or two,” says Pamela Salzman, the L.A.-based chef and certified holistic health counselor who’s schooled Richie, along with Kristen Bell and Rashida Jones, in the art of creating fast, easy, and wholesome meals. What better dish to prep in advance of your next dinner party? Read on for the full recipe.
Serves: 6 to 8
2 tbsp unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 stalk of celery, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound of fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped or 1 14 ½ oz jar, diced with juice
2 tbsp chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
¾ cup farro
Piece of rind from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (if you have it)
4 small zucchini, medium dice, about 4 cups
1 ½ cups cooked white beans (e.g. cannellini, Great Northern), rinsed if canned
Handful of greens, coarsely chopped
Chopped basil leaves or pesto for garnish (optional)
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese
1. Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and add the onions, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables to brown.
2. Add the tomatoes with the juice, parsley and ½ tsp sea salt. Cook for five minutes more, until the tomatoes are fragrant.
3. Add the stock and 2 tsp of sea salt and bring to a boil. Add the farro and the parmesan rind and bring to a boil again. Lower the heat so that the soup simmers. Cook about 15 minutes.
4. Add the zucchini and cook another 10 to 15 minutes, until the farro is tender but still has a little "toothiness."
5. Add the cooked beans and heat through. Add more stock, if desired.
6. Add the chopped greens and stir until wilted. Adjust seasonings and serve with chopped basil leaves and freshly grated parmesan cheese and/or drizzled olive oil on top or a spoonful of pesto.