I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Minestrone Soup

Its still soup weather down here so we decided to have some minestrone soup. I found an excellent article on the history of minestrone soup. What it boils down to is that minestrone soup is a soup made from whatever vegies are in season at the time. Minestrone originally was a very humble dish and was intended for everyday consumption, being filling and cheap, and would likely have been the main course of a meal. Minestrone is part of what is known in Italy as cucina povera (literally "poor kitchen") meaning poorer people's cuisine.

Because different vegies come into season at different times of the year there is no set recipe. It depends on where you live and what season you are in. I took some inspiration from a recipe in Rao's Cookbook. I've featured quite a few other dishes from the book. They are all good and this soup is no exception.

Minestrone Soup

1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1 cup chopped onions
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped leeks
1 quart chicken broth
1/4 cup minced Italian Parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 t thyme
1 to 2 cups cooked Cannellini (white kidney) beans
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
2 T chopped fresh basil
2 cups diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup fava beans, cooked
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup small pasta of some sort

Brown a few strips of bacon, leaving some of the grease behind in the bottom of a saucepan. Remove, cool, and crumble. Add oil to the pot along with onions, leeks, parsley and thyme. Saute until they start to soften.

Return crumbled bacon to the pot. Add in remaining ingredients except cheese, basil and pasta. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until all vegies are soft. Mash some of the beans against the side of the pot with a spoon. Add in the pasta and cook until pasta is soft. Remove from heat. Stir in basil. Serve with Romano cheese.