Minestrone Della Nonna FannyBy Chatelaine
6 to 8
Versions of this versatile soup have been around since ancient Roman soldiers ate minestrone for sustenance. Every nonna makes it differently and, aside from a few specific rules, minestrone is flexible and lenient.
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow or white onion , diced
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 2 to 3 medium carrots , diced
- 2 to 3 celery stalks , diced
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 medium yellow potato , finely chopped
- 1 medium zucchini , diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp hot water
- 1 cup tomato passata
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 to 2 cups chopped swiss chard
- 2 to 3 sprigs fresh parsley , chopped
- 1 Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano cheese rind
- 1 cup tubetti, tubettini, or other small pasta
- 1 540-mL can cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano cheese
- Crusty bread , for serving
- Heat a large pot over medium. Add oil and then onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to sweat. Add garlic. Stir for 1 min. Add carrots, celery and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 min. Add potato and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir tomato paste and hot water in a small bowl until combined. Add to vegetables. Stir in tomato passata. Cook for 2 to 3 min.
- Add 8 cups water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Add Swiss chard, parsley and cheese rind. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, 30 to 50 min.
- Cook pasta following package directions. Drain and stir into minestrone along with beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide soup among bowls. Garnish with grated cheese. Serve with crusty bread.
Freeze harvested vegetables to use later on. You can add broccoli, peas, cabbage, fennel bulb, green beans and/or any other vegetable your heart desires to your minestrone. Make it vegan by leaving out the cheese and adding a bit of vegetable bouillon to taste. Infuse your minestrone with more flavour by cooking 100 g pancetta, diced, with the onion. Minestrone freezes well, and Nonna Fanny would love it if you ate all of your leftovers. Buon appetito!