Traditionally, minestrone is made with whatever is growing in the garden, but it always includes beans and tiny pasta, such as acini di pepe. You can vary the beans in the minestrone, depending on what you have in your pantry. Pinto or cannellini beans make a great substitute. I love this bountiful dish for how satisfying and flavorful it is, all while being completely vegetarian.
Edesia’s Minestrone RecipeCourse: SoupsCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Simple
Traditionally made with whatever is growing in the garden, this bountiful dish is satisfying and full of flavor.
1/2 cup dried peeled fava beans
1/2 cup dried cranberry beans
1/3 cup dried chickpeas
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups chopped fennel
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup of acini di pepe pasta or Israeli couscous
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup (about 2 ounces) finely grated pecorino Romano
- Soak the beans in a large bowl of water for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours (best if overnight). Drain in a colander set in the sink. Rinse well.
- Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery; cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
- Stir in the tomatoes, potatoes, fennel, parsley, and basil, as well as the drained beans. Add enough water (6 to 8 cups) so everything is submerged by 1 inch.
- Raise the heat to high, and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly, uncovered, until the beans are tender, adding more water as necessary if the mixture gets too thick, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Stir in the pasta or couscous, salt and pepper. Add up to 2 cups of water if the soup seems too dry. Continue simmering, uncovered, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into each serving bowl. Divide the soup among them, and top each with 1 tablespoon of the grated cheese.
- You can vary the beans in the minestrone, depending on what you have in your pantry. Pinto or cannellini beans make a great substitute.
- Use the fennel bulb stalks and fronds for the most intense flavor. No feathery fronds on the bulb? Add a teaspoon of fennel seeds to the aromatic vegetables that you sauté to begin the dish.
- Add other fresh vegetables from the garden or market, such as zucchini, cabbage, green beans, cauliflower, or broccoli florets.