Friday, November 25, 2011

It's all in the Minestrone

Minestrone is one of those kitchen sink sort of soups. It's really all in there. It was one of the first soups I ever made - once I found out that meals don't just magically appear at the table and are not always supplied by restaurants. Back in the day, I used to make this from dried Great Northern beans. Since I started working, though, it's canned. Maybe in retirement....

Stuff that goes into Minestrone:

 If you are interested in nutrition facts, click here.

4 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 zucchini
3 T pure olive oil
4 garlic cloves smooshed up good
8 sprigs of parsley, rinsed and chopped (either curly or flat Italian is just fine)
4 cups or more of the stock of your choice - veggie is best and keeps this recipe vegetarian, but you can use beef or chicken if you prefer.
28 oz hand crushed tomatoes - peeling is up to you, or just get a large can of whole tomatoes and you save some work and still get to crush them up!
3 red potatoes, diced, I like to leave the nutritious skin on 
2-3 cans of Great Northern white beans, rinsed and drained
at least 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or a tablespoon of fresh)
1/4 cup fresh rinsed and torn basil
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce - to taste, but if you are a non-salter like me, you will want several shakes as the Tabasco seems to act as salt and finishes the flavors beautifully

1/2 - 1 cup little bitty soup pasta (depends on how much you love pasta in soup)
2 cups rinsed and torn spinach


a drained and rinsed can of chick peas. I love this, but the Spousal Unit hates chick peas so....

Also, you may be a salter. Hopefully not, but you might be one. If so, taste near the end of cooking and add in only just enough. If you used salted stock though, do try to avoid adding the extra salt.

Add in any other veggie you love such as green beans are awesome, broccoli bits, or sweet red pepper. 

What to do:

Prep all your ingredients first. It's fun and organized and you can feel like Julia Child on her cookery show.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Then add the celery, onion, carrots, and zucchini. Saute for several minutes until the onion is softened a bit. Then add in the garlic and parsley and saute for another couple minutes.

Add the liquids, potato, beans, oregano, basil, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Bring to a near boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for several hours...or until you are ready to eat and it tastes great. You can simmer it long or short depending on how long it is til dinner (I generally start soup early and just let it go on the stove). Just be sure the soup has the time to complete the marriage of flavors and makes you smile when you take a taste.

About 30-40 minutes before dinner, taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Then add the soup pasta and allow to simmer until they are tender.

Add in the spinach and stir, simmering, for another five minutes or so.

If at any time the liquid seems reduced too much, add either more stock or tomatoes as you prefer. It's fine for the reduction to take place as the flavors are concentrating. You are the judge as to how thick it should be. Taste and think. You may like a more tomatoey soup or a more brothy soup. This is also a good time to taste and adjust the seasonings.

Enjoy this very mindful thought provoking nutritious soup often.


  1. Looks delicious, I can't wait to try it!

  2. Looks good, but I doubt it's necessary to simmer this for "several hours" unless you are making it in a crock pot.

  3. Generally I set something like this on the stove way ahead of time so I don't have to fuss it at a meal. You are right though that it is unnecessary to simmer longer than the time it takes to make sure the flavors merge and marry in the way they have when they simmer. That will vary and is totally to taste. You know, that's a great idea! I'll make an adjustment in the text - thanks!

  4. Made this over the weekend. I'm not much for Minestrone normally, but this was really good. Used a combination of chicken & vegetable stock. My Italian spouse thought it was wonderful! I did simmer it for a long time, in fact, let it sit overnight before adding more liquid, the noodles and the spinach. Really good!

  5. so glad you enjoyed it! My Italian husband does too.