This is a soup we crave on cold winter nights, and one that we’ve found is a good food gift for friends. Accompanied by a loaf of hearty bread, it is dinner by itself, but it can also be a perfect lunch or afternoon warm-up. One thing that’s so great about Minestrone is that you can vary the vegetables and the type of pasta used to suit your taste and availability of ingredients.
The Cooking With Friends Kitchen
2 cups white beans, such as cannellini
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
½ cup chopped salt pork or ham
2 onions, chopped
2 leeks, washed well and chopped
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
2 teaspoons fresh chopped basil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or two 15 oz. cans)
6 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups kale or cabbage, shredded
4 small zucchini, diced
6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 cups elbow macaroni (or other pasta)
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan for top
In a large pot, heat olive oil and sautee salt pork or ham, garlic, onion, leek, parsley and basil until slightly browned. Add tomato paste with several tablespoons of water, mix, and cook five minutes. Add celery, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, kale or cabbage, and zucchini, chicken stock, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, simmering for 45 minutes to an hour.
Add beans and pasta, cook about 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.
Makes 12 Cups