Minestrone is a moveable feast in Italy, varying from one region to the next.
One thing’s a constant, though: it’s a chorus of vegetables, cooked slowly over a low flame.
1. - Winter Minestrone with Farro and Beans | rachel eats:
Rachel Roddy's Adapted from the Riverford Farm Cookbook by Guy Watson and Jane Baxter.
5 tbsp good olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 leek finely chopped
1 celery stalk finely chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped into small dice
2 turnips peeled and chopped into small dice
2 cloves garlic peeled, crushed with back of knife and chopped
400g tin of plum tomatoes
425g borlotti or cannellini beans drained
200g farro soaked in cold water for 1 hour and drained
water or stock
a parmesan rind
salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Good olive oil and freshly grated parmesan to serve.
Gently warm the olive oil in a large heavy based pan and add the chopped vegetables (onion,celery, leek, carrots, turnips but NOT garlic yet) add a sprinkle of salt, stir well to coat the vegetables in oil, cover the pan.
Cook slowly for about 30mins or until the vegetables are soft and slightly caramelised.
Add the garlic and cook for another 2 min’s.
Stir in the tomatoes and then allow everything to bubble away for about 10 minutes.
Add the beans, farro and parmesan rind, cover with water (or stock if you so wish) and bring the pan to a gentle boil.
Reduce the pan to a lively simmer and leave bubbling away for 30minutes or until the farro is tender.
Season the minestrone and add more water if you feel it is too thick.
Allow the minestrone to rest for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavours to mingle and develop before very gently reheating and serving minestrone in warm bowls with a dribble of raw oil and freshly grated parmesan.
3. - Rachel Roddy’s recipe for minestrone soup with regional variations | A kitchen in Rome | Life and style | The Guardian: Rachel Roddy’s recipe for real minestrone soup.
2 red onions
2 celery sticks
40g butter or pancetta
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g potatoes, peeled and diced
300g other vegetables: fennel/ peas/ turnip/artichoke heart/leek/pumpkin
200g savoy cabbage or kale
120g tinned plum or fresh tomatoes (around half a tin)
A large parmesan rind
400g cooked cannellini beans
First serving for 4
150g short pasta, such a ditalini or mafalda, or rice
2 tbsp grated parmesan
Second serving for 4
4 slices toast
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1 Peel and dice the onion, carrot and celery.
In a large, heavy-based pan, over a medium-low heat, gently fry these in the olive oil and butter (or pancetta) with a pinch of salt, stirring every now and then for about 8 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.
2 Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes, then add them to the pan, stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Chop the other vegetables, shred the cabbage/kale, add all these to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes (resist the urge to put in more than half a tin) and parmesan rind, stir, then add 2 litres of water, cover and leave to simmer gently for 1½ hours.
3 Add the beans.
Stir and cook for another 30 minutes.
If you find the minestrone is looking a little too thick, or dry, add a little more water.
Once cooked, fish out the rind and season with salt and pepper.
4 To serve, two ways.
On the first day, serve half the soup with some short pasta or rice cooked separately until al dente; maybe swirl in some grated parmesan.
The second day, serve it over toast zig-zagged with olive oil and sprinkled with cheese.
4. - The big soup | rachel eats:
Adapted (like so many of my recipes) from Marcella Hazans book The essentials of Classic Italian cooking.and the recipe for Minestrone alla romagnola.
Inspired by the many bowls of minestrone I have eaten here in italy. /Rachel Roddy/
serves 6 very generously.
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium red onions peeled and finely diced
3 medium carrots peeled and finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
350g courgettes diced
200g potato peeled and diced
150g french beans diced
200g shredded savoy cabbage
120g tinned or fresh plum tomatoes
1.5 litres water
400g cooked cannellini beans
a large parmigiano – reggiano (parmesan) crust
4 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano – reggiano (parmsan) cheese
Gently heat the butter and oil in very large, heavy based pan and then add the onion.
Keep the heat at medium low and cook the onion uncovered until it is soft and floppy and just starting to turn golden but no darker – this will take a good 10-15 minutes.
Add the diced carrot, stir and then gently cook for 5 minutes stirring once or twice more.
Add the diced celery, stir and then gently cook for 5 minutes stirring once or twice more.
Now add the potatoes stir and then gently cook for 5 minutes stirring once or twice more.
And now….the french beans stir and then gently cook for 5 minutes stirring once or twice.
Now the add the courgettes…..yes you have guessed it….. stir and then gently cook for 5 minutes stirring once or twice.
Add the shredded cabbage stir and then gently cook for 5 minutes stirring once or twice.
Now add the tinned tomatoes, stir and then add the water and the parmesan rind, stir again and cover the pan reduce the heat to a tremulous simmer, steady and slow and leave it just so for 2 and a half hours stirring occasionally.
After 2 1/2 hours add the cannellini beans, stir carefully and firmly and then cook for another 30 minutes.
NOTE; if you find the soup is looking too thick before it has finished cooking add a little more water.
When the minestrone has finished cooking pick out the parmesan rind and remove about 1/5 of the soup into a separate bowl and blast it until smooth and gloopy with the imersion blender before returning it to the big pan and the rest of the soup. Stir in the grated parmesan and taste and season with salt if necessary.
* In Italian the word minestra is often used (sometimes confusingly) to describe most of the vast family of Primi piatti (first courses) with a liquid base and thus eaten with a spoon, the broths and some soups with pasta, rice or grains and sometimes dumplings in them. Soups without these additions tend to be referred to as zuppe. Tortellini in brodo, pasta e ceci, pasta e fagioli are all minestre.
5. - Soffritto so good: Rachel Roddy's winter minestrone soup recipe | Life and style | The Guardian:
The ingredients for a winter minestrone – ‘the big soup that came out of a kitchen with half a pumpkin, the last of a batch of beans and one wrinkled potato’
Minestrone magic: A hearty autumn soup made from leftovers.
Winter minestrone of celery, pumpkin, cavolo nero and white beans.
500g cavolo nero
1 large onion
3 ribs of celery, with a few leaves
6 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
400g pumpkin/squash flesh
400g cooked white beans
1.5 litres of water or bean broth (or a mix of both)
A parmesan rind (if you have one)
A small sprig of sage
1 Wash the cavolo nero, strip any particularly thick stems from the leaves and roughly chop, roll the leaves and shred thickly.
2 Peel and dice the onion and celery for the soffritto.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan and slowly fry the onion, celery and a pinch of salt, until soft, which will take about 8 minutes.
3 Peel and cut the pumpkin and potato into 1cm chunks, then add to the pan along with the cavolo nero stems and a tiny pinch of salt, stirring to prevent sticking, until each chunk glistens with oil.
Add half the cavolo nero leaves, half the beans, the water and the parmesan rind.
4 Raise the heat so the soup nearly boils, and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Five minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the rest of the cavolo nero and beans.
Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed then chop the sage and add it.
Allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then serve, passing round a bowl of grated parmesan for anyone who wants it.
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