I have discovered how to avoid getting large while being an obsessive cook and compulsive eater – do all your grocery shopping by bike! Even better, decide foolishly to make minestrone from scratch, including the stock, and bike all around town toting veal bones in your backpack. Also, make sure to take the way back from the market that includes a hill so steep that the sidewalk has raised planks to avoid slipping.
So after all my toil I was finally able to make Marcella’s minestrone soup from the original Classic Italian Cookbook and I really liked the result. I made the stock last Saturday, the soup on Sunday and then took it for lunch all week. It is hearty enough for a full meal especially if you add bread and really healthy. Plus if you go through the trouble of making homemade broth then you feel like you are eating the most wholesome thing in the world. There is nothing wrong with making it a day ahead – it got even better the next day.
For the broth I made the recipe in her book, it is a pretty standard broth except she recommends a combination of poultry bones and beef or veal. Also this is a great way to use up those rinds of Parmesan in the back of your refrigerator. I followed the recipe pretty diligently but I have re-tweaked the proportions to make a smaller batch and re-written it below. She recommends that you prep the vegetables as you go – and I found this worked out well, you have enough time to do this and this avoids the potatoes turning black etc. It wouldn’t be authentic but you could substitute vegetable broth and make this vegetarian.
[print_this]Minestrone di Romagna: (serves 4)
1/3C olive oil
1C onion, thinly sliced
1/2C celery, diced
1/2C carrots, diced
1 1/2C potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2C zucchini, diced
1/2C green beans, diced
1/2 small savoy cabbage, shredded
5C homemade meat broth
the crust from a piece of Parmesan
1C canned tomatoes in their juice, cut up
1 small can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/3C Parmesan, freshly grated
1. In a big stock pot add the oil and onion over medium low heat and cook until translucent and starting to brown. Add the carrots and cook stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes. Do the same with the celery, potatoes, zucchini and green beans one at a time.
2. Add the cabbage and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broth, cheese rind, tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook at a very slow simmer for 2-3 hours. It should be thick, so you can add more broth or water if necessary to thin it out.
3. 15 minutes before you are done with the soup add the cannellini beans and just before you take it off the heat stir in the grated cheese.
4. Taste and season as appropriate.[/print_this]