According to the Wikipedia, minestrone is an Italian soup made with fresh seasonal vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based soup base (such as chicken stock). We’ve had this minestrone recipe sitting around for years and finally got around to making it this weekend. (Don’t know the source.) It was perfect, actually, for the rainy and cold January weather we’ve been having.
Beans will absorb a great deal of liquid while cooking. Add more broth or water to replace lost liquid if needed, or the beans will stick.
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups dried Cannellini or Great Northern Beans
- 2 ounces salt pork or pancetta
- 10 to 12 cups chicken broth (use gluten-free broth for gluten-free version)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup loosely packed parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 head savoy or curly cabbage, sliced
- 1 potato, diced
- 2 zucchini, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 cups chopped Italian styled peeled plum tomatoes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish
1 Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain beans, rinse, and place them in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add salt pork or pancetta and 6 cups of broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook gently for about 1 hour.
2 Heat oil in a separate large stockpot. Add chopped vegetables (onion, celery, carrot, garlic, parsley) and sauté gently 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add remaining vegetables and tomatoes. Add remaining 5 cups broth. Simmer for 40 to 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
3 Remove salt pork or pancetta from beans. Dice finely. Transfer half of the beans to a food processor or a blender and blend into a paste. Add mashed beans to the vegetables. Add remaining whole beans, broth, and diced pork to vegetables.
4 Simmer 5 minutes longer. Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.