by James Belardo
They Roman’s recognized the benefits of a simple diet, which was based mainly on vegetables because meat was not always available. Today, the classic Italian Minestrone soup is as varied as they come, every cook may have their own particular set of ingredients. Basic ingredients such as onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes and beans are the key ingredients. Seasonal vegetables set the tone of most Minestrones. Purists believe that the stock should be bean based but some prefer to use a meat based stock such as chicken or beef. We prefer the classic, bean-based stock. The type of beans that are considered the ‘genuine’ bean for Minestrone is the Borlotti bean (also referred to as Romano beans), we find Cannellini works well too.
1 can Borlotti/Romano beans (or Cannellini)
1 can chick peas
2 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
1 zucchini, sliced and halved
1 small onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup hand crushed tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
1 cup white wine (Pinot Grigio)
4 tbsp olive oil
fresh lemon juice (1/2 medium-large lemon)
Peperoncino Fiocchi (hot pepper flakes) – optional
Salt and Pepper to taste
note: saved ‘broccoli stalks’ make a nice addition
1. Pre-heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Cook onions until they begin to turn translucent and then add the diced garlic and the optional Peperoncino Fiocchi (hot pepper flakes).
2. As the garlic ‘begins’ to brown add the diced carrots and celery.
3. Add the zucchini when the carrots and celery begin to turn tender and become slightly soft.
4. Stir frequently allowing the zucchini to cook on all side, then add the green beans
5. At this point you may need to add 1 or 2 tbsps of olive oil
6. Once all of vegetables appear cooked you should fold in the mushrooms and let cook for 5 -10 minutes.
7. Add 1 cup water and let come to a boil before adding 1 cup of wine.
8. When soup comes back to a boil, add a cup of vegetable stock and some bay leaves.
9. Once coming to a boil once again, add the cup of crushed tomatoes and let cook for 5-10 minutes.
10. Once the soup comes to a boil, once again, add the beans.
11. Always allowing the soup to come to a boil after adding each cup of liquid, begin adding in this order, water, stock, water, stock, water and stock.
12. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper
13. Sometimes it’s best to cook the pasta separately, it’s entirely up to you.
14. In the last minutes of cooking before the pasta is fully cooked, add the parsley.
15. Top with Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan if you prefer).
The Grape Gourmet
• health • wellness • culture • flavor •