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bowl of Minestrone

a filling vegetable and tomato soup that's almost a meal in itself

Many years ago, we were in our favourite grocery store in Fremantle, Western Australia, just to pick up some borlotti beans to make frijoles. Mamma Tagliaferri served us and asked if the beans were for Minestrone because she had an old family recipe that she could give to us. So, here it is. The list of ingredients seems rather long and cooking time is about 2 hours; but, apart from the normal preparation of the vegetables, most of the work is done by the pot on the stove. It is best to follow the various stages as listed for a really tasty soup.

Soak for 5 hours, or overnight in plain water:
¼ cup borlotti beans
¼ cup lentils
1 Tbsp split peas

When ready to cook, drain the beans, lentils and split peas.
Place these in a large pan with 1.25 litres of fresh water and bring to the boil while preparing the following:

Fry in a little olive oil:
1 large coarsely chopped onion
1 clove crushed garlic
3 finely sliced mushrooms
¼ cup chopped bacon

Add the fried ingredients to the pan along with:
2 chicken stock cubes (or 2 tsps chicken stock powder)
1-2 sliced carrots
1-2 sticks chopped celery

Now, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. In the meantime, prepare and chop your choice of vegetables which can include parsnip, swede, turnip, green beans, etc and:
1 large potato, diced small

Consign all these to the pan and simmer a further 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, put in:
175g tomato paste
1 medium diced capsicum
½ tsp barbecue spice
¼ cup pearl barley (optional)
1 tsp paprika
½ cup peas
and simmer a further 30 minutes

Finally, add:
1 cup shell pasta
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup red wine (optional)

Simmer the soup for another 15 minutes or until pasta is al dente, then serve with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

      Gracie mille, Mamma

Click here to view or print recipe in PDF.

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