I usually don't follow a recipe for soup, and I rarely write one down. I wrote up this one for publication, and even if I don't follow it exactly every time, at least I've got a good framework now. - Foodwriter97426
Note: Vegetables can be changed, added to or deleted. Amounts are only suggestions. Dried herbs can be used in place of fresh - cut amounts by 1/2. —Foodwriter97426
Test Kitchen Notes
This minestrone follows the Italian tradition of relying solely on the vegetables, beans and a scrap of parmesan rind for the flavor of the broth, which is made with a base of water. The beans, cooked from scratch in the soup broth, enrich the soup, napa cabbage sweetens it and a last minute addition of red wine underscores its heartiness. You might want to start with half the pepper called for and add more to taste, but whatever you do, don't forget the final pinch of freshly grated parmesan on top! We also added a cup and a half of water as the soup simmered, to keep it nice and brothy. - A&M
olive or vegetable oil for sauteing, plus more as needed
medium onion, chopped
cloves garlic, minced or crushed
dry cannellini beans
dry garbanzo beans
1 1/2 teaspoons
chopped tomatoes (or 1 can, with juice)
cut green beans, fresh or frozen
zucchini, sliced and quartered
inches Parmesan cheese rind
small napa cabbage (about 10 ounces)
soup pasta (such as ditalini, orzo, or tiny shells)
Heat a heavy 4 quart (or larger) pot over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat bottom of pot. Add onions and garlic; reduce heat to medium. Saute until onions are translucent.
Add beans, water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are just barely tender.
Add herbs and seasonings, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and cheese rind. Return to boil briefly, then reduce heat to low and simmer an additional 30 minutes.
In the meantime, thinly slice and chop cabbage. Add to soup along with the pasta and simmer 30 minutes.
At this point the soup can be refrigerated (or left on the stove with the heat off for up to 2 hours). Reheat before serving. When ready to serve, add wine and taste for seasoning. Serve topped with grated cheese if desired, or pass cheese at the table.