Mmm Mmm Minestrone

4 Oct

It is finally a bit chilly here in Alexandria, which, for me, immediately means SOUP. Especially when it is a lazy Sunday afternoon and your beloved Buffalo Bills are taking an unearthly beating once again….soup is also a major comfort food. Making this soup gave me a good excuse to walk away from the TV and ridicule of my peers to concentrate on much more positive (and delicious) things. There will be no flag on this play.

I initially wanted to make my Ma’s famous Italian wedding soup, but a) she was MIA, as usual, so I couldn’t get  the detailed recipe and b) I really didn’t feel like going to the store. It was cold. And rainy. And we played power hour on Saturday night. Feeling me?

So, I opted for the classic minestrone. Along with chicken noodle, this was the first soup my Ma taught me how to make. It is fairly easy, and allows for a much-needed cleaning of your fresh/canned vegetable supply! Mixed with ditalini pasta and topped with freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, this minestrone will warm your toes and your heart.


  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (or 1/2 of a large onion)
  • approx. 6 quarts water
  • approx. 5 vegetable bouillon cubes (Depends on amount of water/personal taster. Depending on the brand’s directions, I usually put in 3-4 and then keep tasting to see if I need more. For this batch of soup, I used Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Bouillon with Sea Salt.)
  • 2-3 medium-sized carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 can (abt 14 ounces) crushed tomatoes (I’m sure you can buy a smaller can, but being Italian I only have a shelf of the large cans!
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1 can sweet peas
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 can butter beans, drained
  • 1 bay leaf or about 1 tablespoon of crushed basil
  • pepper and onion powder to taste (I think my Ma also adds a little garlic powder)
  • 1/2 lb ditalini pasta (you can also use orzo, shells or acini di pepe, but ditalini is my personal fave.)


In a large pot over medium heat, drizzle EVOO, just coating the bottom of the pot.

When oil is warm, add chopped onion. Let cook/sweat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently

Once onions are soft, add water. I usually don’t measure; I just fill a little over 1/2 of the pot. You don’t want to add too much, or you’ll be overflowing once you add the rest of the ingredients!

Add carrots, celery and potatoes to water, along with 3-4 bouillon cubes. After about 20 minutes, add diced tomatoes, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, green beans and sweet peas. I add the cannellini and butter beans last, since they soften rather quickly.

Taste and if needed, add more bouillon cubes. Add bay leaf/crushed basil, pepper and onion powder and stir well.

Let cook for about 20-30 minutes, stirring (and tasting!) often. I usually “taste” so much of it that by the time it is done, I’m completely full! While the soup is cooking, boil a saucepan of water and cook the pasta.

Once carrots, celery and potatoes are soft, the soup is pretty much done. I usually cook it a bit longer, only because beans that aren’t totally soft and somewhat tasteless freak me out. I know, weird. But at least I’ll eat endless amounts of them cooked!

Serve with plenty of grated pecorino romano/parmesan cheese and thick slices of crusty Italian bread. Mmmmmangia!

(This soup is also great because it yields heaping amounts – perfect for dinner all week or freezing for another lazy Sunday.)


2 Responses to “Mmm Mmm Minestrone”

  1. Dr. Denny October 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    I hope you’re promoting mamamangia … because this is really good work. Keep it up.

    • Anne Marie October 5, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

      Thank you! Just that comment alone makes me feel successful. I am just starting to promote it beyond the Minnuto clan. I assume you’re my personal SBU promoter, right?

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