Today's recipe comes with a lesson in Italian, compliments of the food dictionary at Epicurious, a quick source of information about culinary and ingredient terms.
'Minestra' [mih-NAYS-truh] means 'soup' in Italian, most often a soup of medium thickness, frequently with both meat and vegetables.
'Minestrina' means 'little soup,' a thin broth.
'Minestrone' means 'big soup,' a thick vegetable soup containing pasta and sometimes peas or beans, usually topped with grated Parmesan cheese and hearty enough for a complete meal.
That makes my version of minestrone someplace in between. It's hearty but tastes light and has just a few calories. My notes on a recipe card dated 1999 read, 'Excellent! Light! Filling!' And so it is.
HOMEMADE MINESTRONE SOUP
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 14 cups
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a rice wine but broth would work too)
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion
2 leeks, cleaned, cut in half moons (see this photo tutorial about how to clean leeks)
9 cups broth (I used this Homemade Chicken Stock)
4 cups chopped green cabbage
2 cups chopped zucchini
1 small piece of Parmesan rind, optional
3/4 cups tiny pasta
3 cups fresh spinach, stems removed, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil (for anyone with basil on hand, I recommend this, I used winter's less-expensive fresh cilantro)
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh Parmesan, grated, optional
In a very large pot, heat the wine on MEDIUM HIGH heat while prepping the first vegetables. Add the celery, onion and leek as they're prepped, simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the cabbage, zucchini and Parmesan rind, return to a simmer and let cook about 10 minutes. Add the pasta and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to bowls, top with freshly grated Parmesan.
This recipes makes a LOT of soup. It doesn't freeze well so you might adjust the quantities for less.
I like to bring the broth to a boil in the microwave while prepping the vegetables, it helps keep everything moving.
By the second day, the pasta tends to suck up all the broth. So if you plan to make ahead and serve the next day, two suggestions. First, stop cooking after the cabbage and zucchini have cooked and refrigerate overnight. The next day, bring the soup to a boil, then proceed. Second, cook the pasta separately and stir into individual servings or what's being rewarmed that day.
If you use the ever-so-tender baby spinach that comes prewashed in bags, be sure to remove the stems before adding to the soup and cook for just a minute.
~ 15 Bean Soup ~
~ Quick Corn & Coconut Soup ~
~ Greens 'n' All Beet Soup ~
~ Lentil Soup Vincent ~
from Kitchen Parade
~ more soup recipes from A Veggie Venture ~
~ more soup recipes from Kitchen Parade ~
~ more Weight Watchers recipes ~
~ more low-carb recipes ~