At the first sign of cold weather we all long for a nice vegetable soup. What’s the secret for a great “minestrone”? Here are some tips I learned from my Mom:
- NO bitter-tasting vegetables (dandelion,asparagus) or any fennel-like veggie (bok choy, fennel etc.)
- add at least one cup of sweet peas (I use them frozen if I can’t find them fresh)
- add a nice chunk of butter-nut squash or pumpkin
- add one ripe tomato or a couple of peeled tomatoes (to improve the color)
- lots of basil leaves
- the more various and numerous the vegetables the better for your health and for the taste of the soup
- the soup tastes even better consumed next day or after a few days (keep it refrigerated in a glass container)
- make it your Clean-Out-Fridge recipe: use your scraps!
The secret for a delicious healthy vegetable soup? Here's my mom's recipe of the Minestrone (vegetable soup in italian). No fats, no cholesterol, gluten-free and completely vegan if you don't add the parmesan cheese.
- (frozen or fresh) sweet peas - 1 cup
- potatoe - 1
- carrot - 1
- butternut squash (or pumpkin) - half
- onion or/leek and/or shallot and/or garlic - 1
- celery - 2 stalks
- zucchini - 1
- tomatoes or tomato concentrate or peeled tomatoes - 1 cup
- broccoli or cabbage - 1 cup
- previously soaked or fresh beans (also lentils are good) - 1 cup
- bouillon cubes and /or salt - to taste
- parmesan cheese -
- extra-vergin olive oil -
- freshly ground black pepper -
- soup with pasta
- short pasta (ditatlini,pipette,small shells,orecchiette) - 1/2 box (1/2 lb.)
Throughly wash all produce. Chop them. Add chopped vegetables and peas in a large pot, cover with (filtered) water, cover with lid and let cook till it starts boiling. Lower heat and let simmer for about 40/50 minutes. Add salt and stock(s) after 20/30 minutes. Taste it to be sure the vegetables are soft and there's enough salt/stock. If you like you can blend the soup while still warm with an immersion blender directly in the pot to make a creamy soup (passato di verdura) that's usually very popular among young kids. I usually set aside some chopped vegetables before using the blender to add to my plate.
Add some previously cooked pasta (cooked al dente), rice, barley or farro to make it a fully satisfying dish, a one-dish meal. Serve with freshly grated parmigiano cheese, ground pepper and a drizzle of XVOO.