A chill in the air, the leaves start to turn. October 4th is a good day. My DIL was born. She would rather eat a bowl of soup than a piece of cake. Happy Birthday Erika ! I watched my friend Roberta make this pot of minestrone Friday night. Fragrant, nourishing, delicious. We all ate a bowl and had some Hearth Bread from Whole Foods and it was a great kickoff for the beginning of soup season. I photographed it on my kitchen table in one of my mother’s bowls. The recipe is from The Best Recipe Cookbook by the editors of COOK’S ILLUSTRATED. Follow the recipe to the letter and you will be surprised. It is a different method and has no garlic unless you add it in the pesto or Rosemary mixture at the end. The key to the recipe success is the real Parmesan Cheese Rind.
2 small leek washed thoroughly, white and light green sliced thin crosswise
2 medium carrots peeled and cut small dice
2 small onions peeled and small dice
2 medium celery stalks trimmed and cut small dice
1 medium russet potato peeled and medium dice
1 medium zucchini trimmed and medium dice
3 c stemmed spinach leaves cut in thin strips
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained and chopped
1 Parmesan cheese rind about 5×2 inches
1 can cannellini beans drained and rinsed, added last 5 minutes
ground black pepper
at end add 1/4 c basil pesto or 1 T rosemary mixed with 1 teaspoon minced garlic and extra- virgin olive oil
Bring vegetables tomatoes and 8 cups of water, cheese rind and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a big soup kettle or pot.
Reduce hear to medium low simmer uncovered, stir occasionally,until vegetables are tender but still hold their shape about an hour.
Add beans and cook just until heated through about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
Remove and discard cheese rind. Stir in pesto or Rosemary mixture if desired and adjust seasonings adding pepper or more salt if necessary. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.
If you want to add pasta be sure to cook separately, drain and put in soup bowl, then ladle soup over it so it doesn’t suck up all the broth.