A true staple of any Mediterranean diet, this hearty vegetable soup is a garden of flavors that's easy to make. Enjoy it as an opener or a meal in itself.
For the soup:
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 3 yellow onions, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 3/4 lb of peas
- 3/4 lb of green beans
- 2 tsp of oregano
- 2 tsp of basil
- 2 tsp of paprika
- 1 can (8 oz) of tomato sauce
- 1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 2 cups of water
- 1 can (15 oz) of chick peas, drained
- 1 can (15 oz) of kidney beans, drained
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooked pasta
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil
- In a stock pot, heat up the olive oil on medium-high heat.
- Place the onion in the oil and cook until soft.
- Add in the garlic and cook for a minute or two until fragrant.
- Stir in the celery, carrots and potatoes.
- Cook the mixture until all vegetables soften.
- Place the peas and green beans into the pot.
- Season the mixture with oregano, basil, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and water.
- Stir thoroughly and bring the soup to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for ten minutes.
- Add in the chick and kidney beans, and continue simmering until they are tender, stirring occasionally.
A handy shortcut would be to use frozen peas and green beans. Just defrost them before cooking.
If you wish to avoid canned beans, then be sure to fully soak dried beans before using.
When storing the soup, I'd suggest not leaving the pasta in the pot, but adding it as you serve. This will keep the pasta from disintegrating and thus not make your soup into a sludge. You can also freeze some of it if you like.
Remember there isn't any set "official" recipe for minestrone. So you can variate this soup any way you like. Add or remove any ingredients as you see fit. Remember, the Italian peasants made this soup more like a "potluck" of whatever they had on hand to put in. If you decide to add meat, be sure to brown it first before you even cook the onions.
The pasta is also open to translation. I usually like to use penne, but rotini, elbows, or shells will work wonderfully as well. Some will use strand pastas such as spaghetti, but I find it not as ideal for a soup.
Place some pasta in each bowl and ladle the soup over it. Top with Parmesan cheese and a some of the fresh basil.