I’m excited to share this recipe with you guys. I’ll admit that I wasn’t a fan of minestrone soup…I think because I didn’t know exactly what was in the Campbells or Progressos of my past. But I tweaked this one to just the way I liked it and when I tried it I fell in love. I thought it was the most delicious soup I’ve ever had. I’m not even exaggerating. Now as I sit here and write about my new favorite soup I’m craving a steaming hot bowl and an enormous piece of bread!
Minestrone soup is such a great soup. For one…it’s Italian. But on top of that, it’s hearty and satisfying on cold winter nights and it allows you the freedom to throw just about anything in it: veggies nearing their expiration, veggies that are leftover from previous meals. Anything!
Cliff chose this particular recipe, by famed mobster Henry Hill, which Goodfellas is based on. Nothing but the best for us! We added cannellini beans because we like them and we omitted the cabbage–yuck!. Other than that, we followed Henry Hill’s recipe pretty closely. You could totally mix up the ingredients to suit your tastes. Henry (first name basis) says not to bother cutting up all the veggies ahead of time. I see his point since you’ll add them gradually and will have time to chop in between cooking. However, it seemed like a lot of peeling, chopping, dicing and slicing so we prepped everything before we started the soup.
I think everyone needs to try this Minestrone Soup. If you haven’t tried any recipes from our blog yet, let this be the first one. If you’ve tried lots of our recipes, let this be the next one. It’s that good.
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ pound pancetta, diced (can be substituted with bacon)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 leek, white and green parts, sliced
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes and juice
2 10.5-ounce cans beef broth
1 10.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups water
large handful green beans, ends removed and cut in half
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 small zucchinis, diced
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1 cup small pasta, cooked according to package directions (we used pipette)
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add pancetta and cook over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not brown. Add the onions and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and leek and cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
Add the tomatoes and their juice and break the tomatoes up in the pot using a wooden spoon. Add the broth and water and stir well. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.
Snap off the ends of the green beans, break in half or in approximately 2-inch pieces, then add to the pot. Add the potatoes, zucchini, parsley, and dried herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Be careful to not add too much salt because the pancetta is salty on it’s own. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. After 1 hour, taste for seasonings and cook for 1 more hour. After the second hour, add the cooked pasta and stir.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired. This soup freezes well but gets thicker as it sits. You may need to add additional water or broth when reheating.
Source: adapted from The Wiseguy Cookbook by Henry Hill via Tide and Thyme