Minestrone Soup

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.

Minestrone Soup Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 10-12, easily. (This recipe makes a lot of soup!)

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.

Yum

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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.

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Showing 4 of 10 Comments

  • Cin

    I love this photo, Elise. I mentioned to a work colleague once that we were going to a restaurant that served provincial Italian food, and she said, “Isn’t that just minestrone?” Yeah, that’s all they serve!

  • Marc Canter

    Pasta Fagiole is a great variant. The texture is superb and there’s nothing like a warm, smothering Italian version of comfort food to brighten your day.

    Also anothe version from Friuli Venezia-Guilia is called ‘Yota’ – which includes Sauerkraut. It was the old Pope’s favorite soup.

  • Gray

    Would it be hard to prepare this recipe without meat? I imagine that it isn’t too big of a deal to replace the broth with vegetable stock of some sort, but does there need to be some subsitution for the salt pork?

  • Jason

    This is a great recipe. The texture was good with the beans, very hearty. To me the tomatoes is an important part of the recipe…it gives it a rich flavor, yet I’ve seen minestrone recipes without it.
    I made it without meat, but still using chicken stock, and it came out fine. Serve with french bread as a meal of its own.

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