Minestrone soup dates back to 2nd Century BC Rome. This dish takes a page right out of the “cucina povera” (literally “poor kitchen”). To this day this soup is called “the poor man’s soup”, because peasants would traditionally put whatever leftover ingredients they had into it. This explains why no one exact recipe is the same.
This is my mom’s version. It includes so many delicious vegetables, and chickpeas and red kidney beans to give it some extra protein. I can remember walking in the house as a kid from school and smelling this soup on the stove. It was one of my favorite things to eat. It just warms your soul.
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Onions (14 oz.), Diced
8 Celery Stalks (7.5oz), Diced
1 lb. (about 8 large) Carrots, Diced
1 (28 oz) Can of Whole Tomatoes, Pureed
2 (32 oz) Low Sodium Beef Broth
1 (32oz.) Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 Cup (4oz.) String Beans, Trimmed and cut into ¼ inch pieces
3 tsp. Salt
3 tsp. Pepper
2 Potatoes (1.5 lb, I use Idaho), Cut in ¼ inch cubes
1 Yellow Squash (6 oz.), Diced
3 Zucchini (1.5lb), Diced
2 19 oz. Cans of Chickpeas
2 19 oz. Cans Red Kidney Beans
1 Pecorino Romano cheese end (optional)
1 lb of Ditalini Pasta or the pasta of your choice
Heat the olive oil in a pot on a low flame and add the onions. Sautee for 5 minutes and then add the carrots and the celery. Saute for another 10 minutes until the veggies start to get soft. Add the pureed tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes on low. Add the beef and the vegetable broth. Raise the temperature to medium and bring to a slight boil. Add the string beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes and add the potatoes. Boil for 10 minutes and add the yellow squash and zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain a little of the liquid off the top of each can of beans. Pour the chickpeas and the red kidney beans in the pot. Add the Pecorino end (optional but highly recommended). Cook the soup on low for about 1 ½ hours. Boil the pasta and serve with the soup.
NOTE: This soup serves 12. Even if you don’t need to feed this many people, this soup freezes really well.