Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter Minestrone

My current favorite thing ever is any kind of dark greens.  So good!

That is a big reason why I wanted to try out the recipe.  Also, I wanted to get to the bottom of minestrone.

See...the thing about the word "minestrone" is that you see it all the time on menus.  And I have always thought of it as a vegetarian soup with maybe some noodles in it.  The shell variety.  

Sometimes, you even see on menus, "Minestrone Soup".  

When Giada made this, I wondered to myself, "What IS minestrone?  What does it even mean?"

Well, Minestrone is Italian for "big soup".  It doesn't have to be vegetarian, but often is.  There are no set ingredients.  No recipe.  It is just Italian soup.  So, if you ever see a menu with "Minestrone Soup" on it...I would run.  It is like "Panini Sandwich".  

Anyways, I love this soup.  The parmesan rind is key.  Makes for a really delicious broth.  If you don't save your own parmesan rinds, you can get them at most stores with a "gourmet" cheese section.  

And you can't have Minestrone without some good crusty bread.  I made this recipe, which is too easy.

Winter Minestrone
by Giada De Laurentiis via Food Network

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, divided
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth, divided
1 (1-ounce) Parmesan rind
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a large, heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and rosemary sprigs. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes are very soft, about 10 minutes.

In a food processor or blender, combine 3/4 of the beans with 1/2 cup of broth. Blend until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potato pieces are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining beans and the parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Discard the rosemary stems (the leaves will have fallen off) and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

(Servings: 4-6, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 45 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5


  1. I must say that minestrone soup is one of my favorite things to eat during the winter (in all of its varied forms!) But what is absolutely mandatory is good bread and cheese to go along with it! It seems like you think like me! Thank you so much for sharing! I hope you have a peace-filled day.

  2. Yeah I think I'm going to make this this week. Brian thinks the only things worth eating in the winter is 1. soup served with a chicken salad sandwich 2. a rueben. reuebens he will eat any time any day. MMMMmmmm I'm hungry