Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Minestrone – Italian Vegetable Soup

Minestrone is a classic of Italian cuisine, comfort food, rich, tasty and full of health since is an ally of the diet because it purifies, satisfies with few calories.

Vegetables in Minestrone can change by following their seasonality and availability and therefore the traditions of each region and family. You can add as many fresh seasonal vegetables as you want.

Each vegetable has different cooking times, which is why when you cook in stages and it takes a while in the making of, unless one chooses the pressure cooker, in which case cooking will be much faster.


Serves 4, Preparation time 20 mins, Cooking time 1 hour and half

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 medium-large onions
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 medium yellow potatoes
  • 100 g Cannellini or Borlotti beans – dried or tinned
  • 2 tomatoes, better if a bit ripe
  • 100 g fresh – or frozen peas
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 Bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, rosemary, parsley
  • Evoo, 2 spoons
  • Cold water, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

If you use dried beans: leave them to soak in cold water for 12 hours. Use 1 litre of water for every 200 grams of beans.
Then drain and set them aside for cooking.

If you use tinned beans: drain them in a colander so that they lose their water. You can also rinse them a bit under running water and set them aside.
Since they are pre-cooked, better add them as last.

In a very large and high pot pour a couple of oil tablespoons and fry for about 5 mins the celery, garlic, carrots and onion coarsely chopped, along with the bunch of aromatic herbs and stirring often.

Aromatic herbs: rosemary, bay leaves, fresh thyme, parsley, tie them together with string, otherwise just add them loose in the soup, by removing them at the end of cooking.

Peel and cut potatoes into irregular pieces of about 2 – 3 cm, add them to the pot, let simmer them for 5 mins along with fresh peas, then cover them with a little water and cook them for 10 mins.

Cut courgettes into little chunks.

Add courgettes, peas and tomatoes, add more water, seasoning with salt and pepper and cook other 20 minutes.

Add now beans, cover with lid and let cook about 10 mins, stirring occasionally.

Remove the aromatic herbs and garlic clove.

Serve Minestrone with a drizzle of oil and/or a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano cheese otherwise with black pepper, or whatever you like.

Tip: according to the consistency you want to get, you adjust the quantity of water. To get it thicker, you can also blend part of the legumes.

Did you know?

In Milan (Lombardy) Minestrone it’s characterized by the addition of lard and pork rinds cut into pieces and rice. Nowadays, however, they only add rice.

In Genoa (Liguria) it has the addition of the classic Genoese basil pesto.

In Livorno (Tuscany) they add rice and ham bone – removing the bone afterwards and leaving the pieces of prosciutto in.

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