Yes, she is Italian and she is from Tuscany. Her minestrone is the best I have ever tasted…and trust me I have done my fair share of travel and minestrone tasting.
My minestrone is also really good, but not the same as my mom’s. I am an improviser and I like making food with what I have left in the kitchen. And here comes the beauty of the minestrone. The only requirement is to have a lot of veggies available, but you can basically use whatever you want.
Today was a perfect day…for minestrone. Rainy Sunday, not many options in the pantry and refrigerator, except for my CSA veggies that needed to get eaten asap.
I will take you through what I did today, and forgive me if I am not super exact on measurements, but I literally just throw in what’s at hand. Every time I do minestrone is slightly different, and I love that!
As a base I always use carrots, celery and onions. I don’t use any stock on my soup, just the veggies. the secret weapon comes at the end
First you need a stockpot. I use a pressure cooker, which allows me to cook things faster. If you don’t have a pressure cooker a regular stockpot will do, but you will have to double the cooking time.
All the veggies must be chopped. I like it not to thin, but not too chunky either. You will have to experiment and get it to your taste. I will list below the veggies I used today. Basically you will chop them and throw them in the pot.
- 1 onion
- 4 carrots
- 2 or 3 stalks of celery
- 1 leek
- 1 head of broccoli
- 3 zucchinis
- 1/2 cup of split peas (dry)
- 1/2 cup of green lentils (dry)
- 1 bunch of green chard
Cover with water and bring it to a boil. In the pressure cooker I let it cook for 30 min. If you use a regular stockpot it should probably cook on medium heat for 45 min to 1 hour.
While your veggies are cooking prepare the following…
- 1 cup of chopped parsley
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic pressed
Put the parsley and the garlic on a small bowl together and cover with olive oil. Let it sit.
When your veggies are done cooking keep it on the stove simmering and do the following:
- Use a potato masher and mash a little bit of the veggies. This will give a little more body to the soup.
- Add the parsley, garlic, olive oil mixture and stir to blend it with the soup.
- Add salt to taste.
- Let it boil for another 10 to 15 min.
If you want to add pasta, I suggest you cook the pasta separately and add to each bowl when serving. If the pasta stays in the soup it will overcook.
Really feel free to experiment with different veggies, the only must haves I would say are the base (carrots, celery and onion) and some green leafs. I didn’t have potatoes at home today, but would definitely include potatoes if I had. You can also add a small can of diced tomatoes, or even fresh ripe tomatoes making sure to skin them first.
Have Fun! Enjoy!