Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday Food Post - Tuscan Minestrone

I made this for the first time on Friday, February 20th, 2015.  It had been bitterly cold, as it is now. That morning it was 9 degrees  Fahrenheit, definitely a day for a hot bowl of comforting soup for supper.  I found this recipe last year, put it on my 'to do' list, read that list out to Gregg and asked him which one he would like me to make.  He chose this.  You can find it at "Never Enough Thyme", link here.  Lana is its host.

Tuscan Minestrone

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes

1 medium onion, diced

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1 celery rib, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups vegetable stock
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
1 small zucchini, diced
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 lb. tender green beans, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1/4 lb. small shell shaped pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish

Prepare all your ingredients.  I always find it helps to measure everything out ahead of time.  Peel and chop up your veggies and have it ready and waiting, measuring out the pasta and even opening up the cans.  I also grate the Parmesan cheese ahead of time and refrigerating until I am ready to put the meal together.

So, prepare the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, cabbage, parsley and basil and set aside.

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic.

Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

Add the cabbage and cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute.

Add the vegetable stock, tomatoes, parsley, basil, Italian seasoning, bay leaf and if you are using it, the Parmesan rind.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Add the zucchini, garbanzo beans and green beans and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and Parmesan rind.

While the soup simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, and cook the pasta according to the package directions.


Add the cooked pasta to the soup pot and season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

Pass the grated Parmesan separately.

What did we think of this soup?  It was great, though I did make a few changes.

I couldn't find any fresh sweet basil at the one supermarket we went to and frankly did not feel like hunting it down at another.  I had some dried basil in the pantry and used that instead.  I added a good heaping tablespoon.

I also had okra in the freezer and Gregg prefers it to the zucchini, so I substituted the okra.

The flavor of the broth was especially delicious and I am wondering if it was because of the Parmigiano-Reggiano rind that I used.  Lana mentioned that this was a great flavor enhancer.  You're supposed to throw it away like the bay leaf, but the slice I cut off was more cheese than rind.  I found what was left of it in the bottom of the pot, a small piece, and decided to see what it tasted like.  Oh my goodness, was it yummy, all melty and gooey but solid enough to scoop it up on a spoon.  

I will no longer be buying the tall round containers of already grated Parmesan, and am trying to cut out as many preservatives out of our lives as I can.  Once we started using the fresh we realized we will never go back and if you use a micro grater the cheese is as fine as that other stuff but is a whole lot healthier and tastier.

When I had added the okra, garbanzo beans and green beans, after cooking them for the additional ten minutes, the green beans were still not cooked enough for our tastes.  I cooked them for 15 more minutes and they were perfect.

There was a lot of prep work in this meal but starting out early does the trick for me and it was so worth the effort.

We served this with a crusty loaf that we bought from Wegmans.  It is called Rustic Batard and is our current favorite.  It went beautifully with this soup.


  1. I wish we had a Wegmans. This looks so good!I do buy the Parmesan blocks and shred them, but I also have the green can, too. They taste so different!

  2. Denise,

    First of all, I absolutely love your header. This soup looks absolutely scrumptious. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. I love minestrone but I will wait for winter to try this one.

  4. Looks yummy. I don't cook, unless it's super easy without a ton of ingredients, but I'm going to show this to my daughter tomorrow morning before we do our weekly shopping , maybe she'll make it! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I make a HUGE pot of minestrone each winter and freeze portions for later dinners. Wonderful stuff. Tasty, and healthy and I adjust it to suit our tastes just as you did. A glass or so of white wine in it is always nice...

  6. The Parmesan gives an added touch to the appearance as well as the taste. Would you consider sending a bowl over to me... grins.

    Love the new header, Denise.

  7. Third attempt to leave a comment!!

    The parmesan adds to the appearance as well as the taste. Would you consider sending a bowl full over to me... grins!

  8. I will try this recipe as Phil loves minestrone and this sounds a little different. Thanks for sharing.
    I apologise if I don't always see your blogs or, if I do, don't comment as sometimes it takes forever for the comment window to open.

  9. P.S As for the green beans, how about a few minutes in the microwave. I always find they take far longer to cook than the recipe says. Just a suggestion.

  10. Denise, It looks delicious.. and healthy.. Thanks for sharing the recipe.Have a happy Monday!

  11. looks very tasty. Nothing better with soup than bread!!

  12. Looks like a very hearty (and healthy) soup.

  13. I'm a huge fan of okra and wonder where you found it at this time of the year? Great idea to substitute the okra for the zucchini. I hate zucchini in soup,it gets so mushy. See I always learn something from you.

    BTW I recommend the Max Hastings book (Inferno) to Gregg.Hastings has also written many other books on WWII and 'Catastrophe' on WWI.

  14. this looks wonderful and i think i can smell it... i have never had fresh grated Parmesan.. I don't have a grater or i would try it. a soup made from tomatoes with garbanzo beans and green beans would be delish for me. what i like about this soup is i can take out what i don't care for and still have good soup. spices i mean.

  15. Nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cold day. We are plagued by cloudiness, but need the rain, so not complaining at all. I am looking forward to sunshine, however, before SAD sets in.

  16. This sounds like a great soup. I will have to do some shopping and try it. Many of the ingredients are not on my grocery shelf.

  17. This sounds delicious. I used to try out new recipes, but just never do any more. You make me want to try again.

    Lovely header shot;-)

  18. Hi, I'm River, hopped on over from Mimsie's blog. I make a similar soup in winter here, but use a can of four bean mix instead of just garbanzo beans, and a can of condensed tomato soup instead of diced tomatoes. I mix it with a can of water and don't bother with much stock, (maybe a cup), added to the sauteed carrot/onion/garlic mix to simmer for a few minutes before adding everything else.
    You're right about the cheese adding the richness of flavour, parmesan is wonderful stuff.

  19. @Sandra; I often shred or shave my parmesan block with my vegetable peeler. no grater needed...

  20. We fell in love with Tuscan cooking when we were in Italy. This looks so wonderful!

    We were feeling cold today and sent a text to our daughter in Illinois to say we were feeling chilled because it was 60 degrees.

    She wrote back that it was 50 and they were feeling like it was a heat wave.

  21. so yummy and you got some awesome pictures!!!

    chuck would love this but too many veggies for me ;)