04 August 2011


SARONNO, Italy – To pick up on last week’s discussion of minestrone, here is a recipe that I like. Keep in mind there are  as many ways to make minestrone as there are vegetable in the market. Some ingredients are essential however: carrots, celery and onions, the holy trinity of Italian cooking. If you start with those three and add what you find at your greengrocer, you can’t go wrong. 
 The Beginning of a Wonderful Dish
In the summer Italian serve this soup at room temperature. In fact, if you go into a trattoria, you will see bowls of minestrone soup sitting out on the appetizer table.

Minestrone Ingredients

1.5 liters water (or half water half prepared vegetable broth)
2 cloves of garlic (peeled)
4-5 fresh basil leaves
2 medium carrots
1 large onion
1 can of Borlotti beans (or Canellini beans)
2 medium potatoes
50 grams tomatoes (canned)
Small bunch parsley
3 stalks of celery
2 zucchini
Olive oil
*salt (if you are using canned broth, which is salty, taste your soup before adding any additional salt)
In a large pot, sauté the chopped onion, celery and carrots in olive oil at medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring to cook evenly. Season with salt and pepper, then add the rest of the vegetables. Add enough water (or half water half broth) to cover all vegetables in the pot, plus 1 inch.
 Chopped all the Vegetables the same size
Raise the heat to medium-high to bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer on low flame for 30 minutes. Add the canned beans with their water. Let the soup cook for another 10 minutes for the consistency you want.  

If you are adding pasta, I’ve found it is better to cook the pasta separately and then add the cooked pasta to the soup. Season with salt, pepper and a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
 Chop, chop and chop some more
Serve in deep bowls with sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and crusty bread.
 Add the Veggies to the Pot and Cook
Cooking tip: cut the vegetables all the same size so they take the same amount of time to cook. For a  taste of the Italian Riviera, top each bowl with a teaspoon of fresh pesto.

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