Minestrone is a classic comfort food of Italian cuisine, rich, tasty and full of vegetables, an ally of the diet as it purifies yet 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 cooking Minestrone 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 2 hours
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 medium-large onions
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 carrots
- 200 g Beans
- 2 medium potatoes – yellow or purple
- 100 g Green Peas – fresh or tinned
- 2 cherry tomatoes, better if a bit ripe
- 2 courgettes
- 1 Bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, rosemary, parsley
- EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 spoons
- Cold water, to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
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 a string, otherwise just add them as they are 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 peas, then cover them with a little water and cook them for 10 mins.
Add courgette pieces, 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. 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.
Remove both aromatic herbs and garlic.
Serve Minestrone with a drizzle of oil and/or a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano cheese or a drizzle of EVOO.
How many versions of Minestrone exist in Italy?
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.