A Classic Italian Recipe
Minestrone, literally “big soup,” is packed with vegetables, pasta, and beans. A bowl of minestrone can be a meal all by itself. There is no one right way to make minestrone. Recipes vary from cook to cook according to individual preferences, so feel free to improvise with other vegetables, beans, or pasta shapes to suit your taste. Pancetta is a type of Italian bacon. It can usually be found in delis and butcher shops, but if it is unavailable in your area, you can omit it or substitute regular bacon.
Makes 8 Servings
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ounce pancetta, chopped (5 to 6 thin slices)
- 11/2 cups chopped green cabbage
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 quarts chicken broth
- 1/2 cup peeled, diced potato
- 1 piece Parmesan cheese rind (about 3 inches square)
- 3/4 cup vermicelli or angel hair pasta (broken into 2-inch pieces)
- 1/2 cup chopped plum tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
- 1/4 cup cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if canned)
- 1/3 cup cooked kidney beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
- 1/3 cup prepared pesto
- 1/2 tsp salt, or as needed
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or as needed
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese as needed
- Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not allow the pancetta to brown.
- Add the cabbage, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the broth, potatoes, and Parmesan cheese rind. Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Do not overcook them.
- Meanwhile, cook the vermicelli according to package directions until tender. Drain.
- When the vegetables in the soup are tender, add the cooked vermicelli, tomatoes, chickpeas, and kidney beans. Remove and discard the Parmesan rind.
- Season the soup to taste with the pesto, salt, and pepper. Serve in heated bowls, sprinkled with the grated Parmesan cheese.