Friday, January 30, 2009

Minestrone Soup Recipe

Every family in Italy makes its own variation of minestrone, which means literally “big soup,” from the word “minestra.”

Summer Minestrone With Basil Pesto

4 cups tightly packed spinach leaves

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, trimmed, washed and white and light green parts thinly sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

7 cups vegetable stock or water

1 medium potato, cut into small dice

1 medium zucchini, cut into small dice

1 28-ounces can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped

1-1½ cups of Basic cannellini beans, cooked with two garlic cloves and salt and drained

¼-½ cup of pesto, made with blended basil leaves, garlic cloves, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts

parmigiano reggiano or olive oil

Heat the oil in a large soup kettle or stockpot. Add the leeks, carrots, onion and celery and sauté over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the stock or water, potato, zucchini, the chopped spinach and the tomatoes. Bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for one hour. Stir in the beans and salt to taste. Simmer another ten minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the pesto. Adjust the seasoning.

Hearty Winter Minestrone

1/2 pound (about 1 1/4 cups) dried white beans such as Great Northern, picked over and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound pancetta chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 rib of celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound boiling potatoes
4 cups shredded green cabbage (preferably Savoy)
1/2 pound kale, rinsed, drained, stems discarded, and the leaves chopped (about 6 cups)
a 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped coarse and drained well
4 1/2 cups Veggy broth

In a large bowl let the white beans soak in enough water to cover them by 2 inches overnight or quick-soak them. Drain the white beans, in a saucepan combine them with enough water to cover them by 2 inches, and simmer them, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep them barely covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are tender. Add the salt and simmer the white beans for 5 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and let the white beans stand, uncovered.

In a heavy kettle cook the pancetta in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until it is crisp and pale golden, add the onion, and cook the mixture, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the carrots, the celery, and the garlic and cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the zucchini, the green beans, and the potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the cabbage and the kale and cook the mixture, stirring, until the cabbage is wilted. Add the tomatoes and the broth and simmer the soup, covered, for 1 hour.

Drain the white beans, reserving the liquid, in a blender or food processor purée half of them with 1 cup of the reserved liquid, and stir the purée and the remaining white beans into the soup. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for 15 minutes, thin it if desired with some of the remaining reserve liquid, and season it with salt and pepper. The soup may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Reheat the soup, thinning it with water as desired. Serve the soup with the Parmesan, the bruschetta, and the sausages.

No comments: