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Servings: 6 | Prep time: 30 minutes
Grandma’s Minestrone Soup
This is my Grandma’s recipe that my Mum gave me years ago when I left home so I would eat. She always used fresh Borlotti beans, but canned are fine. I like to use less water for a really thick soup, more like a stew. In Italy, this soup is often eaten at room temperature in the summertime. The soup is finished with fresh basil then left to cool down before it is eaten. If you are using soup from the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature before serving it.
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic and pancetta, if using, and fry until turning to a light gold.
2. Add onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, and bay leaf. Cover and turn down the heat to medium low to sweat the vegetables until they begin to soften. Stir occasionally.
3. When the vegetables are soft, mix in the cabbage (See note). Cover and sweat for another 5 minutes or until the cabbage begins to soften.
4. Remove lid and turn the heat up to medium high. Mix in the tomatoes and cook until the tomato takes on an orangey color (if using paste, take care it doesn’t burn). Add the parsley and stock or water. Bring to boil, cover, then turn down to simmer. Cook for 25 minutes, then add the beans. If home cooked add the liquid too. Bring to a simmer again and add the pasta. Adjust seasoning.
5. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pasta is done. Discard bay leaf and parsley. Add in the chopped basil and grind a little black pepper on top. Serve with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of good olive oil.
For more hearty soup ideas, check out our Healthy Survivorship Soups.
Ann’s Tips and Tricks
Always drain and rinse canned beans before using, even for soups. if you use home cooked beans you don’t need to drain or rinse them. If you use fresh beans, add them with the cabbage in step 3.
If you have the rind of a piece of Parmesan cheese handy, throw it into the soup at step 5 for extra flavor.
If you are having oral problems such as cankers or post radiation dryness, leave out the pasta and puree this delicious soup for easier swallowing. Just whizz a couple of cupfuls in a blender with a little extra stock or some water. Let the soup cool somewhat before eating.