Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Isabella's Minestrone

Wow. No post since December 24? Bad, bad Isabella! Here's something to make up for my laziness, a super, delicious recipe for minestrone. This is a soup that benefits by letting it rest a day, if you can keep yourself from eating it all up when you're finished preparing it.

Isabella's Minestrone [serves 8]

(Use almost any fresh vegetables in season. Here are some of my favorites.)

3 Tablespoons fruity olive oil
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium rib of celery with leaves, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 14 1/2 oz canned cannellini, kidney or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups good quality vegetable or chicken stock
4 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
4 oz cabbage or spinach, shredded
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
4 oz string beans, cut in pieces, or fresh green peas
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 T fresh basil, torn (or other combinations of fresh herbs)
coarse salt to taste
Additional olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (and if you have them, Parmesan cheese rinds cut into small pieces)
freshly ground pepper to taste

Place olive oil, carrots, celery, onion and garlic in deep, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Saute until golden. Add chopped plum tomatoes and simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Add vegetable stock. Add the rest of the vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes, add drained and rinsed beans and Parmesean cheese rinds. Let simmer (DO NOT BOIL) over low heat until the vegetables are tender (about 45 mins.) Season with s&p to taste. Add grated Parmesean cheese and fresh herbs if you are serving right away, otherwise save and add to pot just before you serve the soup. Ladle into soup bowls and add a bit more olive oil onto each serving, sprinkle more grated Parmesean cheese and minced herbs. Serve with crusty bread.

You may also serve this over small soup pasta, which is cooked separately in a pasta pan and drained. Place a serving of pasta in soup bowl, ladle minestrone over pasta, sprinkle with cheese and more minced herbs.

Buon appetito!

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