The word minestrone, meaning a thick vegetable soup, is from the Italian minestrone, the augmentative form of minestra, “soup,” or more literally, “that which is served,” from minestrare, “to serve.”
Minestrone is a very substantial winter soup, somewhere between a soup and a stew. The texture and flavours go well with crusty bread.
The current cold weather in North America and the UK means it’s good to eat right now. We’ve just eaten, and the leftovers, when cold will go in the fridge.
Minestrone is filled with chunky vegetables, pasta, beans, and spinach. Fiery Pesto and Parmesan swirled in at the end make it even better.
I serve it in big shallow bowls and when it cools, and then stick it in the freezer for manana.
It consists of vegetables and stock with the addition of pasta, as follows:
400 gms Cannellini beans – canned
4 oz.pancetta, diced
2 stalks of celery
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves
Diced and peeled butternut squash
2 bay leaves
800 gms chopped tomatoes
3 quarts (3/4 gallon) beef stock
8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
1 glass good dry white wine
2 tablespoons fiery pesto
Active Time: 25 Minutes
Yield: Serves 2 hungry adults
Fry the pancetta in a saucepan and cover with cold water.
Bring to a boil, strain and refresh in cold water.
Heat the olive oil and lightly brown the salt pork or bacon over medium heat for 3 minutes.
Add the onion, carrots, potatoes, celery and garlic
Reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the bouquet garni and cabbage and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Drain the beans and add to the soup mixture.
Return to the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the pasta and cook for another 15 minutes, or until soft.
Check the seasoning and remove the bouquet garni.
Serve with the grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.
And of course, pepper. What is minestrone without black pepper? A cold lasagna?