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Minestrone

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Makes 4 Servings 1x

Time 45 to 60 Minutes

Units Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot or parsnip, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 1 1/2 cups chopped hard vegetables like potatoes, winter squash, rutabaga, or turnips, peeled if necessary, in smaller-than-1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; include the juice)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock or water
  • About 1 1/2 cups soft vegetables like green beans, cut into pieces; drained cooked, canned, or frozen shell beans; diced zucchini or summer squash; or chopped fennel bulb
  • 1/2 pound dark, leafy greens like kale, collards, or spinach, stems cut out and discarded, leaves cut across into thin ribbons

Instructions

  1. Put the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add the hard vegetables and garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute or 2 before adding the tomatoes. Raise the heat so the mixture sizzles. Continue stirring until the tomatoes darken and start to become dry. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and adjust the heat so the soup bubbles gently. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the hard vegetables are fairly soft and the tomatoes have broken up, 10 to 15 minutes. (You can make the soup in advance up to this point. Cool, cover, refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze, and reheat before proceeding.)
  3. Add the soft vegetables and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles enthusiastically. Let them have a 2-minute head start before adding the greens. Cook, still stirring occasionally until all the vegetables are quite tender, a final 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve, passing some olive oil at the table for drizzling.

Recipe variations

Pistou

Stir in 1/2 cup or more of pesto before serving.

Pasta e Fagioli

Use whatever vegetables you like in the main recipe but reduce the quantities by about half. In Step 3 add a total of 2 cups drained cooked, canned, or frozen beans — kidney, white, borlotti, chickpeas, cannellini, lima, or a mixture — with the soft vegetables. When it’s time for the greens to go in the pot, add no more than 1 cup small pasta (like tubetti) or larger pasta broken into bits along with another cup water. Continue to cook and stir as in the main recipe until the vegetables are soft and the pasta is tender but not mushy, 5 to 10 minutes.

Herbed Minestrone

Use what you have on hand, and to taste: For example, in Step 1, add the leaves from a fresh sprig of oregano, marjoram, or rosemary. In Step 3, finish with a few more leaves or 1 cup chopped fresh basil.

Parmesan Minestrone

If you have the hard bits from a piece of Parmesan in the refrigerator or freezer, cut it — rind and all — into small pieces and add it along with the first batch of vegetables in Step 2. It’ll become chewy during cooking and is not only edible but delicious. Then grate some more Parmesan cheese for serving.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition