Grandma’s Minestrone Soup has lots of veggies in it, including the cancer fighting cruciferous cabbage. Use either fresh borlotti beans, or canned. For a thick soup like a stew, use little water. Add stock... or water to taste. In Italy, this type of soup is often eaten at room temperature in the summertime. Top it with fresh basil then leave it to cool down before it is eaten. If using soup that’s been stored in the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature before serving it. Click here for the video!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beans: It’s OK to use cannellini, pinto or navy beans instead of kidney beans. Always drain and rinse canned beans before using, even for soups. If using home cooked beans like the Basic White Beans no need to drain or rinse them. The broth is low sodium and adds to the flavor. If using fresh beans, add them with the cabbage in step 3.
If the rind of a piece of Parmesan cheese is handy, throw it into the soup at step 5 for extra flavor.
In the winter, fresh basil can be hard to find or expensive. Substitute 1 tablespoon of jar pesto.
Use ¼ cup tomato paste instead of canned tomatoes.
If 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 cupful in a blender with a little extra stock or some water. Let the soup cool somewhat before eating.