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
I love reading about the history of food.
Researching and making my Mom’s recipes has become a hobby of mine and I’m often amazed at the evolution of food through the years – especially during my lifetime; I find that food is in many ways like fashion.
I enjoy taking trips down the international food aisle at the grocery store. It’s here I can be surprised and delighted with foods I’ve never heard of… not to mention the interesting and artful packaging.
My international food journeys remind me of the things I often mistakenly take for granted. Things like:
- Some foods are no longer available. I discovered this the hard way with one of my early BCN posts when searching for madrilène so I could make this tasty avocado soup. Also extremely hard to find? A garlic cheese roll. If you were a chocolate and caramel lover eating between 1973 and 1981, you likely remember the Marathon Bar which was sweet and savory braided deliciousness that was a treat about as big as a Texas sunrise.
- Packaging sizes have changed. I often find that cans and packaged foods are trending larger than they did in the good ole’ days. Supersize Me! And give me seconds. And please don’t forget the cheese.
- Food packaging has changed. Wine in a box? Get real. (Pssst – it is real)! Refried beans in a bag? Just heat ’em and eat ’em! Tomato paste in a tube? Totally tubular! Let’s get rolling!
A Cheesy Love Affair
I got super sucker-punched in the belly when I lived in Italy. I thought I knew most everything about the country – Heck, it was my seventh trip there. But living far and away for more than a couple of weeks taught me a lot about the presence and absence of food.
Most notably I learned that authentic Italy does not sell or consume yellow cheese. Wait, what?!? Yeah, no yellow cheese! You can imagine the sadness and horror that became my new face as repeated trips to every store in the region produced no yellow cheese. This Texas boy quickly developed a serious health issue when I realized there would be no yellow cheese for me. No homemade mac and cheese. No cheese n’ potatoes. No queso. NO QUESO?!?
This is the solid truth – had someone told me there was a store in a province within a one or two day walk from Tuscany, I would have walked there and back just to score a single log of Velveeta. Pinky swear it. Joe will back me up on this.
I begged our great friends Jeanie and David who were flying over from Texas for an Italian New Years to please, please, please bring me a block of Velveeta. And if they could also find it in their Texas-sized hearts to tuck some taco seasoning in their bag, I would be eternally grateful. And I am.
My dream came true for NYE 2012 when three beautiful blocks of Velveeta arrived along with several packets of taco seasoning, some Pace picante sauce, Rotel and even a bottle of Don Julio tequila. It was a Holiday to Remember! ← Read this post of mine to learn more about shopping Italian style.
Get On With It
OK, OK! So what does all this have to do with this recipe? Everything.
The optional yellow cheese? Yeah, forget about it. It’s not that you’re in Italy … it’s because this dish doesn’t need it.
Most notably this is a typical recipe circa 1970s that is less about sizzle and more about sustenance. No fancy presentation draped with a demi-glaze sauce. It’s good ole’ timey tasty. For me the combination of swiss cheese, ham and pickle was a delicious trio that packed a lotta taste. The mayo, onion and peas only sealed the deal.
foodie tips ~
❤ While perfect as a side salad my appetite was trying to find other ways to enjoy this aside from “just a salad.” I wound-up making lettuce cups out of mine and enjoyed every delicious bite. I think a toasted sandwich filled with the stuff would make the world a brighter place, too.
❤ American Cheese is optional for this dish; I did not use it but I love me some yellow cheese, as the story above reveals.
❤ Dill pickle lover? Check out my other post for Sauerkraut Bend’s Potato Salad… plus a video revealing the history behind the little pickle that made Texas famous.
1 box | Bird’s Eye frozen green peas
½ teaspoon | salt
1 ½ cups | water
1 ⅓ cups | Minute Rice
¾ cup | mayonnaise
½ cup | chopped dill pickle
1 teaspoon | onion, grated
1 cup | slivered cooked ham
1 cup | slivered swiss cheese
1 cup | slivered american cheese (optional)
to serve | tomato wedges (optional)
ii. what to do
1. Add the peas, salt and water to a saucepan. Cover and bring to a full boil.
2. Add the Minute Rice and mix to moisten all the rice. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for 13 minutes.
3. Add the mayonnaise, pickles and onion and mix/fluff with a fork. Chill in the fridge.
4. When ready to serve add the ham and cheese. Serve on lettuce with tomato wedges and enjoy!
Yields 6 servings
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Wait! Did you honestly think before we dove into this recipe that I wouldn’t “wax on” about this or that (or both)? Well you’re right!
You might learn a few things about this tasty dish, as did I. Most shockingly, this recipe does not hail from Switzerland – FOR REAL? Yes, if Wikipedia is remotely true, (and I believe that it is), I’ve been wrong about this small but tastefully important detail my entire life. Read why here.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ “Fat” sounds so … er … fatty. :( We used bacon drippings. Mmmm … bacon! :) Sounds much healthier and “hipper” than mere fat alone.
♥ If you’re feeling rather hungry and you don’t want to pound/tenderize the meat, you can simply coat the steak with the flour mixture by tossing them all together. But don’t blame me if you have second thoughts!
♥ Sadly, my local market (cough-cough-HEB-cough) was out of the cuts of meat I was looking for. Sniffle! Sniffle! But I found boneless chuck steak ribs and they were quite good. But on the next go, I’ll try waking up early in the day for a run at the steak.
♥ Serve with a bountiful sidekick of instant potatoes? Hey, don’t hate! This blog is about functional food from the 1950s – 1970s, so that’s what we ate … and we loved it! And yet I’m still alive to blog about it. I fondly remember black packets of Borden Brand Instant Mashed Potatoes prepared with a divot generously filled with melted butter and a sprinkling of Lawry’s Brand Seasoned Salt (shown above). My brother Roger tells me that Idahoan has filled the void sadly left by Borden. I read more online about the blows to the Borden brand and he’s right. Tonight my partner Joe thanked me more than he did at Christmastime for making this savory starch “with no nutritional value.” That says a lot about his love of instant potatoes … and my skills with gift giving. :\
♥ Whoopsie! Forgot to add the peas near the preparation dismount … probably because I was overly-focused on the “sinsationally” starchy potatoes and garlicky green bean sidekicks.
1 ½ pounds | round or chuck steak, about 1-inch thick
2 tablespoons | flour
1 ½ teaspoons | salt
¼ teaspoon | fresh cracked pepper
3 tablespoons | fat
1 | white onion, sliced into rings
8 ounce can | hunt’s brand tomato sauce
1 cup | water
1 cup | green peas
ii. what to do
1. Cut steak into four pieces.
2. Mix flour, salt and pepper, coat the steak, then pound into steak.
3. Heat fat/drippings in a large pan over medium heat.
4. Separate the sliced onion into rings then cook them in the bacon (Mmmm …) drippings until golden. Push the rings to the side of the pan to make room for more friends.
5. Place the coated steak into the pan and brown slowly on both sides.
6. Cover steak with the onions, the tomato sauce and water and blend. Heat until bubbly.
7. Cover tightly then lower heat and simmer 2 hours or more until meat is very tender. Add the peas and warm through.