It’s minestrone weather. Did I hear the words “comfort food”? I swear My Minestrone is the
best ever — thick, hearty and satisfying, with an interesting bit of crunch thanks to the romaine. This recipe makes minestrone for a crowd, so gather around. Or, if you’re not ready to party, freeze the soup in portions, in readiness for cold days when you crave hot nourishment.
1 lb (500 g) mild Italian sausages (4)
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 oz (125 g) shredded green cabbage (2 cups/500 mL)
2 stalks celery heart (with leaves), sliced
4 medium carrots (8 oz/250 g), sliced
2 oz (60 g) fennel, thinly sliced (1/2 cup/125 mL)
5 cups (1.25 L) each: low-sodium chicken stock, water
2 cups (500 mL) canned diced tomatoes (with juices)
2 tsp (10 mL) or more kosher salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each: ground black pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, crumbled dried rosemary
4 oz (125 g) green beans, trimmed, halved (1 cup/250 mL)
1 small yellow zucchini (6 oz/175 g), sliced in semicircles
4 oz (125 g) small pasta bows or shells (1 cup/250 mL)
1 can romano beans (19 oz/540 mL), rinsed, drained
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped parsley
2 cups (500 mL) finely shredded romaine (3 leaves)
Freshly grated parmesan to taste
Chili flakes to taste
Squeeze sausage meat into large pan, discarding casings. Cook, breaking up clumps with wooden spoon, on medium heat 5 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Drain in sieve.
In same pan, heat oil on medium until shimmery. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Add cabbage, celery, carrots and fennel. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes, or until softened. Add stock, water, sausage, tomatoes, 2 tsp (10 mL) salt, pepper, oregano, basil and rosemary. Turn heat to medium-high. When liquid comes to boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 30 minutes. Add green beans and zucchini. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender.
Meanwhile, in medium pan of boiling, salted water, cook pasta on medium heat 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain.
Stir beans and parsley into soup. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes, or until heated through. Stir in pasta and romaine. Adjust salt.
Serve sprinkled with parmesan and chilies.
Makes 19 cups (4.75 L).
- Yellow zucchini adds a pop of colour, but you can use common green zucchini.
C for Celery Heart: The tender inner stalks are comprise the celery heart.
CREDIT: SUSAN SAMPSON
TESTED IN IMPERIAL