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Old 03-23-2020, 12:32 PM
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Minestrone soup: feedback


What a great dish is Minestrone soup. Big suprise for me, anyway, as I’d only eaten Campbell’s.

Outstanding comfort food, made with basic ingredients that I’ve often got on hand. Easy to prepare, hard to screw up and plenty to enjoy.

So let’s hear your impressions, suggestions, preferences, tips, stories, etc.

Minestrone soup
100 g. navy beans soaked overnight
¼ onion and 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 potato, 1 carrot, ½ stalk celery, 1 small zucchini and 1 tomato, chopped
Small handful frozen peas
Small handful semolina, rice, pasta or whatever you prefer
3 strips bacon, chopped
Fresh basil
Grated Parmesan (and a Parmesan rind, if you like)

Sauté finely chopped onion and garlic for a few minutes in 5 or 6 tablespoons of good olive oil. Add chopped carrot, zucchini, potato and celery and continue until they start to brown. Add beans, Parmesan rind (optional) and a liter of water and cook for 30 minutes covered over low heat. Add chopped zuchinni, tomato and bacon and semolina (or whatever you’re using), check saltiness and cook for another 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. When beans are tender, turn off heat and add peas (they only have to thaw). Top each bowl with chopped basil and grated Parmesan.

I find this has to be made in a non-stick pan or pot (with lid), otherwise the potato will end up stuck to the bottom and burnt.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:41 PM
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A great soup. For a heartier soup, try adding barley instead of rice/pasta. Instead of water, use chicken stock.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:45 PM
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A great soup. For a heartier soup, try adding barley instead of rice/pasta. Instead of water, use chicken stock.
Oooo, good idea. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:46 PM
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If you like some gentle heat, add some pepper flakes early in the cooking process. Ditalini is my wife's pasta of choice. Any opportunity to add healthy fresh greens, so chopped kale half way through the cooking process is good. If not kale, add some hand torn arugula, or spinach at the end to wilt. Drizzle of good v.o.o. once in the bowl. Definitely some fresh grated parm or romano. Home made warm rosemary focaccia is the perfect companion.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:51 PM
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If you like some gentle heat, add some pepper flakes early in the cooking process. Ditalini is my wife's pasta of choice. Any opportunity to add healthy fresh greens, so chopped kale half way through the cooking process is good. If not kale, add some hand torn arugula, or spinach at the end to wilt. Drizzle of good v.o.o. once in the bowl. Definitely some fresh grated parm or romano. Home made warm rosemary focaccia is the perfect companion.
Wow, fast response and good ideas, thanks! I made a batch this morning and thought about adding heat. I've seen spinach in other recipes and will be trying that next time.

My understanding is that there are several "authentic" variations as it's made differently in different parts of Italy.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:58 PM
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Wow, fast response and good ideas, thanks! I made a batch this morning and thought about adding heat. I've seen spinach in other recipes and will be trying that next time.

My understanding is that there are several "authentic" variations as it's made differently in different parts of Italy.
I make no claims of authenticity.

But we do use some better than boullion vegetable stock in ours because it provides more flavor. Also, consider adding a can of fire roasted tomatoes instead of a fresh tomato. Still another way to go is to add a little concentrated tomato paste and saute it in the bottom of the pan before adding the liquid and rest of ingredients. Much deeper flavor profile.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:17 PM
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Only one clove of garlic? Are you English or something?
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:40 PM
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Where’s the cabbage? How can you have minestrone with no cabbage?

Seriously, a few handfuls of chopped or slivered dark green leafy veg will improve many, many soups.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:40 AM
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QuickSilver: It’s okay, I don’t think mine’s authentic eye-talian, either. My usual route is to learn the most traditional recipes first, but, as noted, I’ve read that there are a few different ways to make it in Italy. Note taken about tomato paste. Using the recipe I posted, it comes out mild. I don’t mind that, although a deeper flavor profile sounds good to me.

Quercus: No, not English. I still love garlic but had to practically eliminate it from my diet years ago because it made my guts nervous. I thought it was just me until I met people who have the same problem. I switched from coffee to tea about a year ago, and now I can tolerate garlic a little better. That’s a good thing, too, because I’ve learned that the secret to stewed beans is to use a whole head of garlic (for about six people).

Ukelele Ike: Haven’t heard of using cabbage; will keep it in mind.

Thanks for the tips!
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
A great soup. For a heartier soup, try adding barley instead of rice/pasta. Instead of water, use chicken stock.
Barley! great idea! I'm gonna try and hunt some down after work.

I usually make a big soup like this every Saturday and it will last till sunday night.
diced:
potatoes
carrots
celery
cauliflower
onion
cooked in olive oil pepper and herbs fpr 10 mins covered to soften slightly (stir occasionally)
then add hot water one magi cube (I'm watching my sodium)
add canned white beans
cabbage
and ten or so chicken thighs (skin off).
simmer until meat is falling off the bones.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
Barley! great idea! I'm gonna try and hunt some down after work.

I usually make a big soup like this every Saturday and it will last till sunday night.
diced:
potatoes
carrots
celery
cauliflower
onion
cooked in olive oil pepper and herbs fpr 10 mins covered to soften slightly (stir occasionally)
then add hot water one magi cube (I'm watching my sodium)
add canned white beans
cabbage
and ten or so chicken thighs (skin off).
simmer until meat is falling off the bones.
Beef and barley soup is one of life's pleasures.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:43 AM
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Minestrone is a throw-together soup for me. I just use whatever fresh veggies, legumes, and whatnot I have on hand. If you're curious about an Italian recipe, I can give you the ingredients from Marcella Hazan's recipe for Romagna Style Minestrone:

1 lb fresh zucchini, diced fine
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion, sliced thinly
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 cups peeled, diced potatoes
1/4 pound fresh green beans (ends snapped off and diced)
3 cups shredded Savoy cabbage or regular cabbage
1 1/2 cups canned cannellini beans (or 3/4 cup dreid white kidney beans, soaked and cooked)
6 cups homemade meat broth
2/3 cup canned tomatoes (she specifies imported plum tomatoes), with juice
salt
1/3 cup freshly grated parmiggiano-reggiano cheese
Optional: rind from a 1-2 pound piece of parmiggiano-reggiano cheese, scraped clean

Her directions can get quite specific, but the idea is this (and you can probably figure it out): In a big pot, sweat the onion in oil & butter. Add the carrots & cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add celery and do the same. Add potatoes and same. Add green beans. Same 2-3 minutes. Add zucchini. After 2-3 minutes, add shredded cabbage. Cook 5-6 minutes. Add broth, cheese rind (if using), tomatoes. Cover the pot and let simmer 2 1/2 hours. Add beans and cook for 30 min.

She advises to cook the soup until the consistency is "fairly dense" and that it should not be thin and watery. Before the soup is done, throw in the cheese, stir, and serve.

Note there is no pasta or rice in her Romagna Style recipe. To make it Milanese style, she takes two cups of the above recipe, adds two cups water, and then 1/2 cup of Italian arborio rice to finish it. So, basically make a looser (more watery) version of the recipe above and add rice at the end until cooked.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:34 PM
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Isamu: Hey, that's a good one. I think I'll try it next week.

Chefguy: Barley's good with lamb, too, isn't it? I'm thinking Scotch broth, which I considered making at one point, but some of the ingredients were hard to find not long ago and out of the question now.

pulykamell: Thanks for that recipe; I'll give it a try next time I make this. By the way, I made your three-ingredient tomato sauce this morning and it came out very good.

Thanks everyone!

Last edited by jerez; 03-24-2020 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:37 PM
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That Marcella Hazan recipe reminded me — always hold onto your Parmesan rinds! For minestrone, and for Tuscan white bean soup w/escarole. Probably other soups, too.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
That Marcella Hazan recipe reminded me — always hold onto your Parmesan rinds! For minestrone, and for Tuscan white bean soup w/escarole. Probably other soups, too.
And great in Sunday gravy (red meat sauce) and sauces of all kinds. Yes, I never throw out the cheese rinds.

Last edited by pulykamell; 03-24-2020 at 05:14 PM.
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