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If your only experience with 10cc is their ’70s Top 40 hits “I’m Not In Love” and “The Things We Do For Love”, then for the love of music stop reading now and go listen to their entire catalog on whatever streaming service you use. Much like their contemporaries Supertramp and Steely Dan, 10cc’s commercial pop hits are the outlier for what essentially is a bi-polar band. Half of the quartet (Stewart & Gouldman) wrote those killer earwig Top 40 hits (and they ARE brilliant) while the other half (Godley & Creme) put pop, art-rock, yacht-rock, and a special brand of dementedness into a blender. Look at the decades-before-Occupy “Wall Street Shuffle” or the ’70s-white-guys-jumping-on-Reggae parody “Dreadlock Holiday.” Perhaps the best example of 10cc’s envelope-pushing bi-polar output is “Une Nuit A Paris” written by Godley & Creme. An epic 8-minute multi-part mini-opera that is said to have inspired “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Once you’ve finished the 10cc catalog, I highly recommend my favorite Godley & Creme album Ismism (which was released in the U.S. under the MUCH better name Snack Attack.)
One of my favorite 10cc songs and remarkably a UK hit for them is “Life Is a Minestrone.” Lyrically it comes from the art-rock bizarre side of their discography, but it’s a damn catchy track. It also is one of many Godley & Creme food-obsessed songs, so a perfect fit for the Music & Food project. This inspiration has been sitting on my to-do list for a while now, but the recent Paint A Little Can Of Soup zine pushed it into production.
This is basically a vegetable pasta soup, nothing all that special. Sure, I guess the addition of the greens and parmesan takes it up a notch, but honestly just because it has a fancy Italian name should not deter you from making it. It’s also a blank canvas soup allowing you to add whatever vegetables are in season and subtract those that aren’t. I’ve found sticking to 4-6 cups of chopped vegetables works best. Keep them bite-sized and get them as fresh as possible. If you happen to have a parmesan rind kicking around in the fridge, add that during the potato simmer. Just remember to remove the rind before storing the soup. Do not skip adding some parmesan when serving. It definitely ties the dish together and makes life truly a minestrone.
LIFE IS A MINESTRONE
Zucchini, carrots, potatoes, Cannelini beans, baby spinach, Napa cabbage, chard, and Ditalini pasta
Makes about a gallon
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
2 cup peeled zucchini, chopped
1/2 pound boiling potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (28 oz) petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 can (15 oz) Great Northern or Cannelini (drained & rinsed)
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 cups baby spinach leaves
4 cups shredded green cabbage (I used Napa)
1 bunch chard, stemmed & torn
2-ounces shredded parmesan
1 1/2 cups small dried pasta (ditalini or shell)
Melt butter and olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let cook for 8-10 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.
Add the diced tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir together and let come to a low boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Add spinach, cabbage, chard, parmesan and dried pasta. Let cook until pasta is done. About 10-15 minutes, depending on what size pasta you use.
This will make a large batch, so divide in half (unless feeding a large group), and freeze part for later.