The pantry is filled with vegetables and herbs harvested from the garden. The mornings are cool and crisp. Time to make soup. I went to the bible of authentic Italian cooking. THE SILVER SPOON. Five pages of minestrone soups. Almost every Italian region has its own exclusive recipe.
The best part of making minestrone is you can be very creative. Pasta, rice, and legumes are added to your vegetables and herbs. You can put them all in or leave some out . Your choice. The essential butter, bacon fat, oil or lard is added at the beginning to give flavour to the ingredients. Again, your choice.I’ve combined a couple of recipes for this pleasant and satisfying winter dish.
MINESTRONE … makes 8 generous servings
1 cup finely chopped bacon
1 large onion finely chopped
2-3 fat cloves garlic finely chopped
Salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
1 celery stalk finely chopped
A generous handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
Around 2 cups of chopped carrots
1 28 oz. can San Marzano whole tomatoes
Generous 2 cups of chopped zucchini
4 cups of homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock (for vegetarians)
1 generous cup of frozen peas
1 cup dry pasta (your choice small-sized pasta)
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
A handful of fresh sage leaves and a handful of Fresh Basil, chopped
Lots of good Parmesan cheese to finish
In a deep skillet saute the bacon, onion and garlic , sprinkled with salt, generous grinds of black pepper and a scattering of red pepper flakes. (about 3-4 minutes)
Add the celery stalk and parsley and continue to saute briefly.
In a large soup pot or stock pot put the canned tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon. Add the contents of the saute pan to this. Then add the chopped carrots and the chicken stock. Cook until the carrots are tender.
Now add the white beans, the cooked pasta, and frozen peas and bring back to serving temperature. Stir in the fresh sage and basil. Ladle into the largest soup bowls you posses and top with lavish shavings of Parmesan cheese.