My friend, Joy, learned to make this wonderful soup from an old Italian lady (no, not me). I’m pretty sure my mom made hers very similar to this. Don’t get swayed by the long directions. It is really very easy.
(Note from Joy: “Although this soup is not complicated, the technique is crucial in order to get that authentic traditional Italian flavor, so please don’t rush the process.”)
VERY AUTHENTIC MINESTRONE SOUP
1 Onion, diced
3 Cloves garlic, minced
3 Stalks celery, diced
2 Carrots, diced
2 Potatoes, cubed (golden, if you find them)
1 Head escarole, washed well and chopped (if you cannot find escarole, spinach or kale is OK)
1/4 Cup parsley, chopped small
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1 28 ounce can Peeled Plum Tomatoes (do not drain)
2 15 ounce can Cannelloni Beans (do not drain)
36 Ounces Water
1 Cup Ditalini Pasta (would add a little more)
In a large stock pot on medium flame, add your onions with 1/4 cup of water, so they don’t burn, and sauté a few minutes until they start to soften.
Add the garlic with a pinch of salt and continue cooking until softened, adding more water if needed. Add the celery and carrots with another pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Add the chopped parsley and teaspoon of oregano, and continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes, stirring the mixture a few times.
You will not need any more water as these vegetables release enough. Add the potatoes and stir together. Allow this to cook another minute or two.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, pour out the plum tomatoes with juice and, using two knives, begin slicing them up so you have smaller chunks. Do not be tempted to use diced tomatoes for this. Pour all the tomatoes into the pot along with 1 cup of water. I usually use the can for this to get the remainder of the tomato juice out. Stir that and add 1 quart of water to the pot, cover and allow to boil. Pour out the beans with the juice in a bowl and add water to cover by 1 inch. Set aside.
In another pot, cook the ditalini until almost done.
Once the soup has boiled and the tomatoes have broken down some more, add the escarole. Just pile it in until it starts to wilt; then stir to incorporate. Cover the pot and allow to boil until escarole is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Now it’s time to add the beans and water. Add the beans, juice and water that you added to the bowl. Add 4 or 5 ladles of pasta water to the soup. Drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the soup, and season with salt to taste. The pasta will finish cooking in the soup.
BIG TIP: This may seem daunting but trust me it is not. Ahead of time, if you chop and measure all veggies and open all cans, this will be a really simple recipe.
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