In 1980 I adapted this minestrone recipe from a little paperback cookbook put out by a quaint Vermont restaurant and bakery. It’s been one of our family’s favorite soups ever since! The recipe makes plenty for freezing. You can cut in half if you wish, but I figure, as long as I'm chopping, I might as well end up with enough for a couple of extra dinners that will be waiting for me in the freezer. When adding vegetables, adjust to your taste or veggies you have on hand. Love carrots? Add more. Have some broccoli or cauliflower on hand? Add some florets!
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. butter
1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed (2 cloves if you love garlic)
2 medium-large carrots, diced
¼-½ c. diced onion (to your taste)
2 medium-large celery stalks, diced (include leaves if attached)
2-4 c. diced fresh (or canned) tomatoes -adjust according to how tomatoey you want your broth
1½ c. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
1 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/4” half-moons
3 quarts good chicken or vegetable broth
3 c. diced potatoes
¼ c. fresh parsley, snipped (or 1-2 Tbsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, snipped (or 2 tsp. dried)
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 c. dry elbow macaroni, cooked al dente, and drained
2 c. shredded cabbage
2 –15 oz. cans cannellini beans
Salt and pepper
Shredded parmesan cheese, optional
Prepare the chopped veggies. Keep separated.
In a large soup pot, heat oil and butter together; add garlic, carrots and onion and sauté about 3 min. Add celery and cook another 1-2 min. Add tomatoes, zucchini, green beans and spices. Season with salt and pepper. Gently simmer a few more minutes, just until veggies are crisp-tender. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring the broth to a simmer and add potatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add cabbage and cook another 2-3 minutes. Don’t overcook; you want potatoes to be firm, and the cabbage to have just started to soften.
Add the cannellini beans and tomato mixture. Bring back to a simmer, then add macaroni and warm through. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
Top each serving bowl with a sprinkle of parmesan if desired.
Recipe created or adapted by Liz Talley, Urban Graze
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