1/2 cup borlotti beanssoak at least 5 hours, then rinse
2 onionssmall dice
2 Carrotssmall dice
2 zucchinissmall dice
2 stalks celerysmall dice
1 1/2 cups green beanssmall dice
3 potatoespeeled, small dice, rinsed
1/2 bunch baby spinach
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup small pasta shells or elbows
sea salt flakes
Now that winter is upon us once again, I thought it was time to pull out my Minestrone soup pecipe, one of my favourite wintertime recipes and the most famous Italian soup recipe.
This soup always takes me back to my childhood, working as my Dad’s helper in his electrical business. In particular a re-wiring job he did for an old Italian lady back in Vancouver named Mrs Sorrechi. She was a lovely woman of sizable physical proportions as well as a woman of sizable compassion. Something I was acutely aware of as a boy working in the freezing cold at her house.
Now, I recall as a kid (as I’m sure every kid does) cringing whenever an unfamiliar grown up would kiss, make cutesy faces or hug me. But with Mrs Sorrechi I never minded her attention, being around her was like being around your favourite Grandparent. Pinching my cold cheeks, which normally would’ve made me furious, she would say, “Look a how red his cheeks, dey like a tomatoes, you sid a here and Mrs. Sorrechi gedda you an your Papa some nice Soup.” I remember thinking “oh yeah!! that soup, I can’t wait, my ears are frozen, my feet are numb and everything in between is shivering”. She would prepare for my Dad and I this lovely homemade soup, with a name I had never heard of and full of things I had never seen before, “what’s a zookeeny”, and “what are these little marble thingies?” I would ask. I remember there being every colour of the rainbow of chunky vegetables on my spoon, a spoon so full it wouldn’t even fit in my mouth. It dribbled all over my little chapped lips as I tried to shovel it in and say thank you at the same time.
Even to this day when I am back in Canada I can’t go through East Vancouver without stopping by to see Mrs. Sorrechi, she is getting on now and doesn’t hear as well as she used to but she is still an amazing cook. A few years back I was there for a holiday and she finally gave me the recipe for her warming Winter Minestrone.
Many people are afraid of recipes due to the precise measuring. The key with this soup is to not get too hung up on measurements, basically chop every thing the same size (small dice) then put in equal quantities. For example, if you have chopped a few carrots and it yields 2 cups then put in 2 cups of every other item.
- Place all ingredients in large pot, add water to 1.5 times height of vegetables ( egs. if vegies reach 1/2 way up the pot, fill water to 3/4 of the way up).
- Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and add some salt and pepper.
- Once the soup has cooked for about 3 to 4 hours taste for seasoning (don’t be afraid of adding more salt and fresh cracked pepper in this case)
- Add the pasta 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Add a dollop of pesto or shredded parmesan cheese at the table and serve with crusty whole grain bread.
- Bueno Appetito!