Art of cooking (Minestrone)
There are as many recipes for minestrone as there are minestrone cooks. If you eschew the year round vegetable offer of supermarkets & use only fresh local produce this also will ensure that your minestrone is varied.
The earliest origins of minestrone soup pre-date the expansion of the Latin tribes of Rome & it has been adapted from a vegetable broth to thick vegetable soup. Even though the introduction of tomatoes and potatoes from the Americas only happened in the mid-16th century this changed the soup by introducing two ingredients which have since become staples. Although minestrone recipes without tomato are common to me minestrone has always meant a thick tomato-vegetable soup, & as a bean lover it also has to include cooked dried beans. The next rule is to start with the standard soffrito of onion, carrot & celery, & I subscribe to the idea that everything tastes better with bacon.
My basic recipe starts out as follows but quantities can be adjusted & any vegetable added - kale, butternut squash, zucchini, and green beans come to mind. But there are some vegetables to avoid, in particular those that have a very strong flavor that would overwhelm the others: peppers, for example, or most hard cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.
⦁ generous splash evoo
⦁ 250 ml bacon diced
⦁ 250 ml onions diced
⦁ 2 cloves garlic crushed
⦁ 250 ml carrots diced
⦁ 250 ml celery (or celeriac) diced
⦁ 250 ml cabbage chopped
⦁ 250 ml potatoes finely diced
⦁ 2 x 400g cans tomatoes
⦁ 1/2 tsp basil dried
⦁ 1/2 tsp thyme dried
⦁ salt & pepper to taste
⦁ 500 ml chicken or beef stock (2 bouillon cubes in 500 ml water)
⦁ 2 x 400g cans beans kidney or other variety
⦁ cheddar &/or parmesan cheese
Saute bacon, remove from pan & set aside. Alternative to bacon pork rinds can be used.
To same pan add onions, cook till softened, add garlic, cook for few minutes more.
Add carrots, celery, cabbage, potatoes & many tomatoes as takes your fancy.
Add basil, thyme, s&p, stock & drained liquid from bean cans. Return bacon.
Simmer 30 minutes or more until all veg are tender.
Add beans & heat thru.
Cook 100 ml pasta per serving.
Serve with pasta, grated cheese, parsley & fresh bread.