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Minestrone Soup

(recipe, Carrie Floyd)


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Introduction

This is probably the first soup I ever made, after a friend loaned me a well-used copy of Marcella Hazan's The Classic Italian Cook Book. The Parmesan cheese crust added to the pot adds a mysterious and delicious flavor to the soup.

Ingredients

  1. ΒΌ cup olive oil
  2. 1 yellow onion, chopped
  3. 3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  4. 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  5. 2 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
  6. 2 zucchini, cut into half-moons or small triangles
  7. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  8. 1 cup green beans, topped, tailed, and cut into 1-inch lengths
  9. 1 bunch chard, finely chopped
  10. 1 can (28 ounces) whole Italian tomatoes, peeled and chopped, juice reserved
  11. 3 cups water
  12. 2 cups cooked beans (navy, cranberry, or Great Northern)
  13. 1 bay leaf
  14. 1 hard crust, 1 to 2 inches long, from a wedge of Parmesan cheese (wipe the outside edge clean with a damp paper towel)
  15. Salt and pepper
  16. 2 cups cooked orecchiette, farfalle, or other small dried pasta shape (optional)
  17. Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Steps

  1. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, stir, and cook over medium-low heat while you prepare the carrots. Continue preparing the vegetables, adding each one to the pot once it is chopped, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the next vegetable.
  2. After the chard has been added to the pot and cooked for several minutes, add the tomatoes with their juice, the water, cooked beans, bay leaf, and crust of cheese. Bring soup to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender.
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Fish out the cheese crust and discard. If using, add the cooked pasta to the soup and cook until warmed through. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.