The minestrone I make is the same that my mom makes which started with Marcella Hazan’s Minestrone from her book “The Essentials of Italian Cooking”. I highly recommend this book. If what I make from memory isn’t dead on with Marcella’s recipe, then it’s pretty darn close. First thing to know – although minestrone is essentially a vegetable soup, this is no vegetarian vegetable soup. I’m sure that an interested vegetarian could easily modify the recipe and switch the beef stock with vegetable stock. Probably the single most important ingredient is the hunk of reggiano parmigiano rind. I’ve had the soup made without it and well, let’s just say that making the soup without it really isn’t an option. My grocery store sells the rind in the specialty cheese section, they also have hunks of the parmigiano for sale that still have a rind side on them. I usually go for the hunk of cheese, cut the rind side off for the soup and save the rest for grating over the top at the end. This is a soup that the whole family loves. If you’re going to make it I sure hope you have some decent knives that are sharp and ready to be put to work!
2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Unsalted Butter
1 medium white onion, diced
4-5 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, washed and diced
1 1/2 handfuls of fresh green beans, ends snipped and beans cut into bite sized sections
2-3 zucchini, washed well, ends cut off, quartered and sliced
3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and large diced
1 head of napa cabbage, washed and chopped
2 cans of diced tomatoes
6 cups of Beef Stock (GF peeps, make sure you use a GF stock – I often use Kitchen Basics)
Reggiano Parmigiano cheese and rind
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a heavy stock pot (I heart my Le Creuset Dutch Oven), melt butter and oil together over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 3-5 minutes more, stirring. Then add the green beans and zucchini. Cook, stirring for another 3-5 minutes. Add the diced potatoes, cook and stir for 4 minutes. Add the chopped cabbage, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and then the stock. Stir, turn the heat down as low as it can go for a simmer. Put the rind from the parmigiano into the soup, cover and simmer for at least an hour. Stir the soup occasionally, if you have anything sticking to the bottom of the pan then the heat is too high. Once you are ready to serve the soup, dish it into a bowl and grate some parmigiano on top.