I’m sure you’ve all had this experience. You’re enjoying a meal at a restaurant that’s new to you. You are more than impressed by the entree, the dessert, perhaps all of it. In this case, it’s the soup. It’s just a bowl of minestrone. Not just any minestrone. This one is so over the top full of flavor. And the broth has some substance. Almost creamy, but not really. You wish you had asked for the recipe. Maybe they weren’t willing to share it. You’ll never know. But you can always try to create something at home that can rival this. And so, as this story goes, my Hearty Minestrone was born.
I found that a rich thickened broth can be created by blending just a portion of the chunky soup ingredients and incorporating that puree with the rest of the soup. This is hearty and substantial. —rosemary | a hint of rosemary
medium onion, diced (5 oz.)
stalks celery, sliced (5 oz.)
garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons)
green cabbage, chopped (12 oz.)
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable stock or broth
large plum tomatoes, cored & chopped (12 oz.)
large russet potato, peeled & cut in 1/4" cubes (7 oz.)
canned chickpeas, rinsed & drained
medium zucchini, cut in 1/4" cubes (7 oz.)
fresh green beans, trimmed & cut in 1" pieces
large carrots, peeled & cut in 1/4 " pieces (9 oz.)
canned kidney beans, rinsed & drained
large basil leaves, cut in thin strips
chopped fresh parsley
chopped fresh oregano
parmesan cheese, freshly grated (1 1/2 oz.)
Melt butter and olive oil in dutch oven or stock pot of at least 5 1/2 quart capacity. Set heat to medium and add onion, celery, garlic and cabbage. Mix ingredients well; add salt and pepper. Saute' for about 10 minutes.
Once vegetables are translucent, add vegetable stock along with the tomatoes, potato and chickpeas. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove about 4 cups of mixture (mostly solids) to a heatproof container. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender. Return blended ingredients to pot to incorporate with soup. Alternately, a blender can be used for this process.
Add zucchini, green beans, carrots and kidney beans to pot and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for an additional 25 minutes.
Stir in the fresh herbs. Remove from heat and, if necessary, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.