Italian Minestrone (Pasta and Vegetables Soup)
Minestrone soup comes in many variations from North, center or South of Italy. Each is unique and delicious for your winter menu. This warm and rich soup is delicious and, at the same time, healthy and a great source of nutrients. To create a kid friendly version, try blending the vegetables together to get a smooth creamy consistency, as Italian parents do, and they will love it! Try this recipe and let us know if you enjoyed it!
100 gr (3.5 oz) cherry tomatoes
200 gr (7 oz) fresh zucchini
350 gr (12 oz) ‘romaneschi’ broccoli (or regular broccoli)
150 gr (5.2 oz) Pumpkin uncooked with smooth flesh (or butternut squash)
300 gr (10.5 oz) potatoes
150 gr (5.2 oz) celery stalks
200 gr (7 oz carrots)
1/2 red onion
200 gr (7 oz) peas
200 gr (7 oz) fresh spinach
100 gr (3.5 oz) leeks
150 gr (5.2 oz) dry ‘Ditalini’ or similar pasta
4 bay leaves
1 rosemary sprig
Parmesan (enough to sprinkle on top of each portion for garnish)
2 lt. Vegetable stock (14 cups)
Mediterranean Sea Salt
Ground black pepper
On a cutting board, chop all the vegetables in coarse cubes. Chop celery, carrots, and onions, finely into small cubes with the help of a mixer or by using a sharp knife, to get the ‘soffritto’, which will be needed as a base of cooking.
Now take the chopped pumpkin and leek. Add two tbsp of EVOO in a medium-sized sauté pan, then add the leek. Brown over medium heat, then add the pumpkin. Stir and let them cook to soften the pumpkin (add a ladle of vegetable stock). When softened, turn off the burner, then blend with an immersion blender to get a smooth pumpkin puree. Set aside.
Bring the water in a medium-sized pot to a boil (to cook the pasta).
Coat the bottom of a large pot with EVOO, then pour the soffritto (finely ground carrots, onion, celery). Turn the burner on and brown over medium heat. Add the herbs (rosemary and bay leaves). Now you can add the cherry tomatoes and a ladle of vegetables stock. Let simmer for 2 minutes. From now on, every time you add a vegetable to the pot, you add a ladle of vegetable stock (It will help to bind ingredients together). Now you can add the potatoes, then stir. After 5 minutes, pour the peas and stir. Let simmer then add the fresh spinach. Simmer on medium heat. Now you can add the chopped broccoli, then stir. Cook for 10 minutes. Pour the pumpkin and leek cream, add the rest of the vegetable stock, then let simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the pasta to the boiling water (remember to add salt to the boiling water). Cook the pasta till ‘al dente’, drain the water, then add it to the pot with the vegetables. Slightly cook for 3 minutes, then turn the burner off and let it cool down for 5 minutes. Garnish each plate with Parmesan cheese.