This is the third minestrone recipe I’ve discovered in my Mom “Betty’s” cookbook so there’s no doubt this was one of her favorites. This soup’s signature ingredients of beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes will not disappoint. Plus, there’s pasta and cheese!
I’m glad to be reminded that this dish hails from Italy. And not just Italy but ancient Italy (think BC, folks!).
I’ve kidded a few times here at Betty’s Cook Nook that my family must have had poor roots as many of the recipes we ate growing up are considered peasant foods. This is one of them; minestrone belongs to a style of cooking known in Italy as “cucina povera” (literally “poor kitchen”). All I have to say is bring it on — I love my peasant foods as they are hearty and the very origins of comfort foods rely upon them! True story: I once made and devoured an instant mashed potato on sliced white bread sandwich proving my forever love for carby sustenance.
As a lover and former resident of Italy, one thing I’ve learned is that Italians do not rush in the kitchen. They really don’t rush outside the kitchen, either, unless it’s from behind the wheel of a fast sports car or when horse racing at revered events like Siena’s Palio.
In similar fashion, please don’t hurry this recipe — let the ingredients mingle and get to know one another. While cooking time takes about an hour and a half it’s well worth the wait. You’ll be treated to wonderful smells from your lively kitchen and rewarded with a savory soup that has withstood the test — and taste — of time.
❤ Back in the day “oil” likely meant Crisco vegetable oil. Since this dish has Italian roots we used olive oil — a kitchen staple. As fan of a great olive oil, for several years I’ve fostered an Italian olive tree living on a farm gracing the hills outside Montalcino, Tuscany. Each year after the Il Palazzone harvest my eyes grow as wide as dinner plates when 3 bottles of pure gold arrive at my door. That’s amore!
❤ Make sure and check out Mom’s other two minestrone recipes here and here. I’m not sure which version I like best as each has its own merit. In a pinch you could make the one that makes best use of the ingredients you have in your kitchen.
❤ Wacky about minestrone? Wiki’s got you covered with more interesting facts about this zesty soup!
½ cup | olive oil
1 clove | garlic, minced
2 cups | onion, chopped
1 cup | celery, chopped
4 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
6 ounce can | tomato paste
10 ½ ounce can (~1 ½ cups) | beef or vegetable broth
9 cups | water
1 cup | cabbage, coarsely chopped
2 | carrots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons | salt
¼ teaspoon | freshly cracked pepper
⅛ teaspoon | sage
1 pound can | kidney beans
1 cup | green beans or peas (we used beans)
1 cup | elbow macaroni
to taste | grated parmesan cheese
ii. what to do
1. In a large pot heat the oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the garlic, onion, celery, and parsley and cook until soft, about 7-9 minutes.
3. Stir in the tomato paste and the next 7 ingredients (the broth, water, cabbage, carrots, salt, pepper and sage). Mix well and bring to a boil.
4. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer slowly 1 hour.
5. Add the kidney and green beans (or peas) and the macaroni. Cook 10-15 minutes more or until the macaroni is tender.
6. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese. That’s right — grated cheese makes the world go ’round!
Yields 8 servings. Keeps well in the refrigerator and reheats nicely!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
This isn’t our first time at the minestrone rodeo! In 2012 we made this minestrone recipe and Mom must have surely loved this soup because I think I’ve found 3 different minestrone soup recipes in her cookbook.
While the formal definition of minestrone calls for a thick soup with bits of pasta, this recipe – sans the pasta – is just as tasty as our first find, which included dittalini. With Italian origins, this tasty soup warms you up on a cold day! It’s good all by itself or partnered with some fresh baked bread and a salad. For those who don’t know me, a side of wine is a given. :)
❤ I used red cabbage for a pop a’ color.
❤ I was concerned at first sight by the mass quantity of soup. But when I later did the math I realized it’s perfect for a party of eight. Or 4 days of 2 bowls each. :/~ You can also bag and freeze leftovers for a quick meal when you’re short on time.
❤ “Navy beans” are referred to by many a name. Haricot. Pearl Haricot. Pea Bean. This high fiber bean isn’t navy blue in color – rather white – and prized for its cholesterol-lowering health benefits plus its ability to retain an oval shape after being cooked tender. Navy beans received their nickname after being a popular staple of the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century.
2 cups | navy beans
4 quarts | cold water
5 | beef bouillon cubes (or beef broth)
2 tablespoons | vegetable oil
1 ½ cups | onion, chopped
2 cups | celery, sliced
2 cloves | garlic, minced
3 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
1 pound can | tomatoes, chopped (including juice)
1 teaspoon | basil, crumbled (or a few fresh leaves, torn by hand)
½ teaspoon | oregano, crumbled
2 teaspoons | salt (we prefer kosher salt or grey sea salt)
¼ teaspoon | pepper, freshly cracked
1 cup (3 medium) | carrots, thinly sliced
4 cups (4 small) | unpeeled zucchini, sliced
10 ounce package | frozen green peas
10 ounce package | frozen cut green beans
¼ head (2 cups) | cabbage, sliced
to serve | parmesan cheese, grated
1. Wash the navy beans. Place beans, water and bouillon (or broth) in a large pot. Bring slowly to boil and simmer, covered 1 ½ hours, or until the beans are soft. While the beans soften now’s a good time for a little wine rest break! #LongDay
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes. Add this mixture to the beans and broth.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
4. To serve, sprinkle each serving with the grated parmesan cheese and ENJOY!
Yields: About 8-9 servings (~2 cups each, in size). Nutritional info is below in the original recipe scan!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
It donned on me as I started cooking the first ingredient for this dish ~ bacon ~ that most of our family has lived with a microwave in the kitchen, than without.
Gulp. I’m old!
While the microwave’s origins go back as early as the 1930s, by the late 1970s, the prices made them more affordable. By 1986, only 25% of Americans had a microwave meaning us Kikers were early adopters of magic!
Aside from microwave popcorn, and scrambled eggs, bacon was something that the microwave could heat fast n’ good, turning Mom into a time-saving magician.
This recipe doesn’t call for microwaving the bacon, but either way you’ll find every spoonful of the salty stuff a special surprise.
3 slices | bacon, finely chopped
1 cup | onion, chopped
½ cup | celery, chopped
2 large cloves | garlic, minced
1 teaspoon | basil leaves
1 can | campbell’s beef broth
1 can | campbell’s bean with bacon soup
1½ soup cans | water
1 can (16 ounces) | stewed tomatoes, undrained
½ cup | uncooked ditalini pasta
½ teaspoon | salt
1 cup | cabbage, cut into long, thin shreds
1 cup | zucchini, cubed
1. In a large saucepan, brown bacon and cook onion and celery with garlic and basil until tender.
2. Stir into soup the water, tomatoes, ditalini and salt. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat.
3. Simmer 15 minutes.
4. Add cabbage and zucchini. Cook 10 minutes more or until done, stirring occasionally.
Yields: 8 cups.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ Why not partner a bowl of this soup with some tasty bread?
♥ This recipe can easily be doubled for larger food gatherings.
Foodie Note ~
When I found this recipe, it didn’t have a name. I went online and found out that this was indeed a minestrone soup recipe. I later found a couple other minestrone recipes in Mom’s cookbook so I know it was one of her favorites.
In “walked” cheese.
Cheese transformed everything for me. It had magical superhero powers that could turn sad days sunny. And frowns upside down. The best part? It still does!
I only remember eating mom’s french onion soup once. And once is all it took to tickle the tummy… and the heart.
This soup is a delicious “pick-you-up” during rainy days and chilly nights. It’s easy to make and even easier to eat! Why don’t you share a bowl with a friend or two?
Whaddayawaitin’ for? Soup’s on!
3-4 | medium onions, thinly sliced (3 cups)
2 tablespoons | falfurrias brand butter (my Nanny says so)
2 cans | condensed beef broth
1¼ cups | water
1 teaspoon | worcestershire sauce
2 handfuls | your favorite sliced bread
1-2 cups | freshly grated parmesan cheese
to taste | freshly ground black pepper
ii. what to do
1. Cook the onions and the butter in a medium-sized pot until lightly browned (about 15 minutes).
2. Add broth, water and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer 20 minutes.
3. While the soup is simmering, generously sprinkle cheese on top of the bread and toast in a toaster oven (or oven) until lightly browned.
4. Spoon the soup into serving bowls and top with the toasted cheese bread. The more, the merrier.
5. Garnish with fresh black pepper.
Still hungry for more? Consume more french onion soup goodness here at wiki.
Foodie Tip ~
♥ If you’re in a pinch, you can use croutons instead of making bread the good old fashioned way. It won’t be as delicious, but you’ll still take your taste buds on a flavor adventure.
While my birthday is celebrated just 364 days each year, I’m sharing this recipe with you from one of mom’s favorite friends… Lela!
Funny, when I was a child, I didn’t even think twice about soup… and now I know I’ll love this gazpacho even before I eat it!
Get ready to cool off with this delicious foodie veggie favorite!
1 – 1 pound can | stewed tomatoes
1 – 10-1/2 ounce can | condensed beef broth
1 cup | peeled chopped cucumber
1 cup | chopped celery
1 cup | sliced onions
2 tablespoons | lemon juice
1 small clove | garlic, finely chopped
to taste | fresh ground black pepper
ii. what to do
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized pot.
2. Over medium heat, simmer gently until onions and celery are tender (about 10 minutes).
3. Served chilled.
Foodie Tip ~
♥ Try fine-chopping the vegetables for a smoother consistency.
Foodie Fun Fact ~
The coordinates on the back of the card? I don’t know the relationship to the recipe, but it looks like they were set in mom’s handwriting (not Lela’s.) Looks like the coordinates will set you in the Gulf of Mexico just outside Corpus Christi… one of our family’s favorite watering holes. Maybe there’s a buried treasure there?
Lela’s actual recipe card is below!