There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of vegetable soup recipes. Mostly because you can put any vegetable into a broth and call it "vegetable soup"! Many people don't like soups with whole vegetables, but I think that may be because the only type they've ever tried is canned. And, in my humble opinion, there are not a lot of things worse than canned vegetables! (Canned tomatoes and canned beans are an exception to that.)
This soup has fresh beautiful vegetables and the flavors and aromas will entice anyone to return for seconds. My family begs me to make this. If there is a particular vegetable that is in this soup that you don't care for...just leave it out...or maybe substitute in another veggie.
Italian Vegetable Soup (Minestre di Verdure)
- 1 cup dry white beans,, such as Great Northern or Cannellini or 2 15-ounce cans Cannellini or white beans, drained
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 5 ounces pancetta,, cut into 1/4" cubes
- 1 cup chopped onion,, about 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic,, minced
- 2 stalks celery,, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 5-6 leaves sage,, sliced
- 2 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced,, or 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 medium zucchini,, sliced about 1/4" thick
- 2 carrots,, peeled and sliced about 1/4" thick
- 4 medium new potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick, about 12 ounces
- 1 bunch swiss chard, escarole or kale,, sliced (use the leaves and discard any thick stems)
- 1/2 pound Savoy cabbage,, sliced (In a pinch, I have used regular cabbage)
- 10-12 cups chicken broth or water,, or more if you like it soupy rather than chunky
- Extra-virgin olive oil,, for topping
- Grated Parmesan cheese,, for topping
Directions for Cooking the Beans:
- The night before, place beans in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, about 3 inches above the beans. Let soak overnight.
- Drain the beans, return to the pan and add enough cold water to again cover the beans by 3 inches.
- Simmer until the beans are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- To quick cook the beans to make the soup the same day, follow Debbie's recipe for "Awfully Good Beans" up through Step 5; using only 1 cup of dried beans.
- Set the beans aside to cool until needed for the soup recipe.
Directions for the Soup:
- In a large soup or stock pot, heat the 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the Pancetta and cook for about 4 minutes, until some of the fat has rendered.
- Add the onion, garlic, celery, parsley, and sage.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes or tomato paste. Cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add zucchini, carrots, potatoes, greens, and cabbage.
- Add 10 cups of chicken broth or water. You can add more later if you prefer a thinner soup.
- Purée 1/3 of the beans in a food processor or blender.
- Add the puréed beans to the soup and stir, this will slightly thicken the mixture. Reserve the remaining beans.
- Bring soup to a boil and immediately turn down to simmer.
- Cover and cook the soup until the vegetables are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Add the remaining beans to the soup and cook until heated through.
- After ladling into the bowls, drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese...YUMMY!
- Feel free to add cooked rice or short tube pasta to the soup if desired. This will add a nice texture and make this more like the classic "Minestrone" you may be used to eating.
- In a pinch, use whatever veggies you have in the fridge.