Minstrone Soup is one of the best known Italian soups. It is a thick soup made with beans, a lot of fresh vegetables and pasta. It is probably one of the most flavorful soups. It is served with pasta and Parmesan which makes it just wonderful.
As the cold days are here it is the perfect time to enjoy a large bowl of warming, healthy, nutritious soup.
There are many variations for this soup, as there is no definite recipe of it. I actually based my recipe upon a country style version that uses cabbage, one of the classic ingredients for Minestrone.You may also include meat in this soup like pancetta or bacon, but this deppends on your preference.
I used dried beans as they bring more flavor but if you are in a hurry you can use canned beans and in this way you reduce the cooking time to half.
We definitely enjoyed it, children loved this too and that is enough reason for me to keep doing it. You really have to give this soup a try.
- Slightly adapted after Complete Italian Cooking cookbook by Sonja Grey
- Makes about 6-8 servings
- 1/2 cup cannellini beans
- 3 tbsp oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 bacon slices, chopped, optional
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery sticks or 1/2 cup diced celery root
- 3 tomatoes (about 15 oz) skinned, seeded, choppped
- 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 2 potatoes, diced
- 1 small turnip, diced
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup small pasta shapes (macaroni, ditalini, shells)
- 2 quarts vegetable stock or water
- 1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained, optional
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To garnish
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh parsley
- Place the cannellini beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Leave them to soak overnight.Drain the beans and then rinse under cold water.
- In a stock pot heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, bacon (if used) and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes until soft.
- Add carrots, celery and salt and cook for another 5 minutes stirring from time to time.
- Add diced tomatoes, water and vegetable stock, white beans and herbs and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover the pot and simmer gently for about 1 hr or until beans are tender.
- Add cabbage, potatoes and turnip and cook for 15 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Add the red kidney beans, season to taste and is ready to be served.
- Meanwhile cook pasta in a different pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside until soup is ready to serve. (You can also choose to cook the pasta directly on the pot of soup if you serve it immediatly, but if you plan to refrigerate the soup is better to keep the pasta outside so they want soak too much liquid.) Refrigerating soup improves the flavors.
- Serve the soup sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese and garnish with fresh parsley along crusty or toasted bread.