Tuscan Minestrone

One of our favorite cookbooks is Trattoria Cooking by Biba Caggiano. We used to love to watch her cooking shows on PBS. This is Dave’s version of her minestrone. Healthy, hearty, soul satisfying - what more could you ask for?  It freezes great and reheats well so save some for a future meal.

Serves 10 - 12

Tuscan Minestrone
  • ⅓ cup virgin olive oil
  • ¼ lb (113gr) thickly sliced pancetta, cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) sticks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, divided or 1 Tbsp dried rosemary, divided 
  • 1 lb (454gr) Savoy cabbage, cored, thinly sliced, any tough ribs cut out
  • 2 cans (26.9oz/796ml each) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans (18oz/540ml each) cannellini or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Optional

  • cooked (sliced or crumbled) Itlalian sausage (mild or hot) makes a nice addition

Garnish

  • parmesan cheese, coarsely grated or shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • drizzle of very good extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil

Prep all your ingredients and have at the ready for ease of preparation.

Heat the virgin olive oil in a heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat.  Add the pancetta, garlic, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, and half of the rosemary.  Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, 6 to 7 minutes.  Add the cabbage and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring constantly to wilt.  Add the tomatoes with their juices and the remaining rosemary.  Stir and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add one can of the beans.  Puree or mash the remaining can of beans and add to the pot.  Simmer the soup for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cabbage is soft and the consistency of the minestrone is medium-thick.  

At this point you can serve immediately or cool down in a shallow pan. Keep in the fridge for a day or two or freeze for up to 3 months.

When ready to serve, ladle minestrone into individual bowls and garnish with shavings of very good parmesan. Bring to the table and dramatically drizzle each bowl with a little bit of full-bodied extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil to bring out the aroma.

Serve with crusty bread.


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