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Friday, October 15, 2010

Recipe: Minestrone Soup

Makes 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Essentially, vegetable soup, best made with a little bit of prosciutto. Consider this recipe a series of suggestions, rather than something ironclad; you can make minestrone with any vegetables you have on hand.

4 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled & diced
½ C minced prosciutto or other ham (optional)
4 C assorted mixed vegetables, cut into small cubes if necessary: potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, string beans, cooked dried beans (cranberry beans, or borlotti, are traditional), celery, zucchini or summer squash, pumpkin or winter squash, leeks, parsnips, turnips, etc.
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 C chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water, preferably warmed
10 sprigs fresh parsley, more or less
1 C cored, peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; include their juice)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place 3 T of the oil in a large, deep saucepan or casserole and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the ham if you're using it and cook, stirring, another 3 minutes.
Add the remaining vegetables, season with salt & pepper (go easy on the salt if you've included ham), and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock or water, parsley, and tomatoes and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with the remaining olive oil and serve, passing the cheese at the table.

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