Classic Homemade Minestrone Soup Recipe
Calories: approximately 126 per serving
The following is a guideline. It usually takes me longer to prepare the ingredients than what is stated. I don't time myself, I just start early enough, and spread my prep time out in stages.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
2 tablespoons butter
1 small white onion, chopped
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup diced zucchini
½ cup fresh green beans, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (19 ounce) can cannellini beans (white or red, drained and rinsed (I used garbanzo beans)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, and also add its juice to the pot
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-1/2 cups cubed Russet potatoes
½ cup shredded cabbage (optional)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ cup small pasta shells
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Black pepper, to taste
In the bottom of a large soup pot, on medium-high heat, melt the butter.
Add in the onion and fry until softened.
Add in the celery, carrots, zucchini, green beans and minced garlic. Fry until the garlic is fragrant, two to three minutes.
Add in all of the remaining ingredients except for the pasta shells. Mix everything completely.
Simmer on the stove until the vegetables are tender, around 20-30 minutes. Once they are tender, add the uncooked pasta.
Simmer for another 9-10 minutes until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
Remove from the stove.
Ladle into bowls and serve topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan, but let it sit for as long as it takes not be too hot to eat.
What did we think? Delicious! You can change the vegetables to use your own favorites. I kept them to what was already listed, except I didn’t use the cabbage, which was optional.
I usually add extra vegetables, and consequently more broth, how much to your own taste so you be the judge on that. We love lots of veggies and I put in an extra handful of pasta, plus added more tomato paste.
I had a can of garbanzo beans in the pantry. I used that instead of going to the store just for a can of cannellini.
For the pasta there was half a packet of Lumache left from another recipe (see above before cooking). I bought mine on Amazon at this link, and the package can be seen below.
It is larger than the normal pasta shell we buy, and we like it very much. It seemed to take longer to cook than what it said on the package. I like al dente but it was too al dente for both our tastes. Here again, you be the judge as you may like it that way
I read the following at this website.
"Another shell-shaped pasta, lumache is actually named after a snail. Many Italian chefs looked outside their kitchen window for pasta inspiration, basing their forms on the plants, animals and apparently snails around them. This cut has a cool shape with a pinched end, which helps trap sauce in the main part of the shell. It comes in sizes ranging from tiny snails to the Brazilian rain-forest, man-eating monster jumbo lumache size."
I can attest to the fact that it traps the sauce, or as in our case, both vegetables and soup, as the smaller pieces of vegetable did fall inside and filled up with hot liquid. This, however, only added to its enjoyment. I advise caution if your soup is hot. It is a good idea to cool it as we would any meal, before eating.
It goes on to say:
"Originally they are from the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. Bordering France, the love of snails is a francophone influence, or people starving in that area weren't picky back in the day. The Cherasco snail festival takes place here every year. Intrepid hunters of these shelled gastropods will also collect wild mushrooms and truffles along the way. Though truffles only give off a detectable odor a few times a day and are below ground. So unless you have a dog or a pig with you at the right time, good luck."
This last part made me smile because I once read years ago that truffle hunters had such difficulty trying to get truffles away from the pigs, that they started training dogs instead. I found information on truffles at this website. It is very interesting but there are a lot of advertisements.
I have gone on a bit, but if we eat something that I am not familiar with and in this case, not the regular pasta we would normally put in a soup, my curiosity gets peaked. I start looking into that particular food's history which can lead me elsewhere, as in this case, truffles.
There were leftovers and it was even better the next day. The pasta shells get a little bit larger as they absorb the soup, but do not lose in texture, and definitely not in taste.
We shared a French roll which I cut in half lengthwise, spread with a little butter, a sprinkling of garlic powder and grated Parmesan cheese. I toasted the halves under the broiler for a couple of minutes, until the top started getting brown. You can also use a slice of regular bread instead of the roll, which we have done several times over the years.
I wish you all a happy and healthy week.