06 Aug Minestrone
6 August 2020
PREP. TIME: 20 MIN - COOK TIME: 3 Hours - SERVES: 6 - 8
This recipe has been adapted from Marcella Hazen's , Minestrone alla Romagnola which means that it is prepared in the Romagna style of northern, central Italy. You will always find variations in ingredients in recipes for Minestrone - depending upon the region the recipe it's from.
Minestrone is a wonderful, hearty soup, full of nourishment and famous throughout Italy. The freshest, seasonal vegetables are added to the household staples of carrots, onions and potatoes. These are cooked on a slow heat for hours - ideally in a good stock*. The result is a soup that has a dense, mellow flavour, that recalls not one of the vegetables in particular but all of them at once in the most appetising manner.
This is not a recipe that you just throw together. You need to allow some time so that you are relaxed and can enjoy the process. Be sure to add the ingredients in the sequence indicated in the recipe. By first sautéing the onion, the essential flavour of the onion is established and imparted to each other vegetable in turn, as they then each impart their own flavour onto the next vegetable.
It is not necessary to prepare all of the ingredients in advance, just keep the flame low and you will find that you can comfortably prepare one vegetable while another is cooking. Alternatively have one person prepare the vegetables while another person stirs the pot. Whatever you decide to do - the most important thing is to observe the cooking intervals between each vegetable as indicated in the recipe.
Keeping your heat low, especially while you are not attending to the pot, will take the stress out of the possibility of the ingredients cooking too quickly. A heavy based pot will allow for even heat distribution and stop ingredients sticking and burning. If you have trouble controlling the heat on your stove - consider buying a heat distributor to place under the pot to even out the distribution of heat. This is especially useful for long, slow cooking.
* For a slightly lighter soup you can omit the meat broth and add a total 2.5 litres of water. The vegetables generate a flavoursome vegetable broth regardless. If you are planning to make your own broth, it may be easier for you to make it the day before.
ingredients for 6 - 8 people
450 g Zucchini
8 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
45 g Butter
3 Onions, very finely sliced
4 Carrots, chopped into fine dice
2 sticks Celery
225 g Potatoes
115 g Fresh green beans
170 g Savoy cabbage, shredded finely
400 g Tinned cannelini beans
1 litre Cold water
Crust of a large piece of parmesan cheese, carefully scraped clean - optional
170 g Tinned or bottled whole tomatoes with their juice
6 tablespoons Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Paring knife and cooks knife
5 - 8 litre, heavy based soup pot
Soak the zucchini in a large bowl filled with cold water for at least 20 minutes, then rinse them clean of any remaining grit or dirt.
Trim both ends and finely dice the zucchini.
Put the oil and butter into the soup pot with the sliced onion.
Turn the heat to medium low.
Cook the onion uncovered until it softens and just begins to colour the palest of gold but no darker.
Add the diced carrots and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Add the celery, and cook stirring occasionally, for 2 - 3 minutes
Add the potatoes, peeled and diced, and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 - 3 minutes.
While the carrots, celery and potatoes are cooking, soak the green beans in cold water.
Rinse and snap off the ends and dice the beans
Add the diced beans to the pan, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes
Add the zucchini and cook for 2 - 3 minutes
Continue to give all the ingredients an occasional stir and after a few minutes, add the shredded cabbage.
Continue cooking another 5 - 6 minutes
Add the broth, the cheese rind if using, the tomatoes with their juices and a sprinkling of salt. Stir all of the contents well, mixing them together.
Cover the pan and lower the heat, keeping the soup just gently bubbling, cooking at a steady but gentle simmer
When the soup has cooked for 2 1/2 hours, add the drained, cooked or tinned cannelini beans, stir well and cook for another 30 minutes. If necessary, you can turn off the heat at any time and resume the cooking later.
Cook until the consistency is fairly dense.
Minestrone should never be thin and watery.
If you find that the soup is becoming too thick before it has finished cooking, you can dilute it with some more broth or water.
When the soup is done, just before you turn off the heat, remove the cheese rind, swirl in the grated parmesan, then taste and correct for salt.
Recipe by Marcella Hazen, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Adapted by Elizabeth Peddey
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