Fall and Winter mean soup. This is indisputable. Most of the time, homemade soup is healthy, filling, and last for daaaaays. When I go home to Cambridge in the chilly months, my Dad almost always has something or other bubbling on the stove. With the sweaters coming out and the leaves a-changin’, I had no choice but to stock up on heaps of veggies and make Minestrone. Minestrone literally means “big soup” (Minestra means soup, the suffix “one” means big. There’s your language lesson for the day, folksies.)
After a morning of some serious work, I needed a break, and what could be better than blasting this: and chopping vegetables to my hearts content? I ended up with a huge pot of Italian Nonna tastiness that I’ve been eating day and night with chewy Italian farro.
Winter Minestrone courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis and Food Network
*I increased on practically everything, which is largely encouraged in a recipe like this. I also did Kale and little beans instead of Chard and Cannellini. I skipped the potato. I also used regular beef broth, because, I’m sorry, I like Umami sodium-laden things. Not PC, I know. Whatever strikes your fancy, homies.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped [I used 4 stalks]
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped [I used 4 ounces]
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped [I used mixed Kale, because I’m a hipster]
1 russet potato, peeled, cubed [Skipped this]
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed [Used little white beans, not Cannellini]
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth [Full sodium, and I used a 32 ounce carton]
1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese rind to the vegetable mixture [Parmesan Rind makes it out of control delicious..]. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard Parmesan rind [or don’t, and sneakily chew the cheese of the side] and rosemary sprig (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem.)
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
I’ve expressed my love for Farro before, and I wanted the soup to be EVEN heartier. So, I made some up and sprinkled it on the soup after!:
Rinsing the Farro (necessary step)
15 Minutes Later: Chewy, earthy, and, I daresay, healthy!What the doctor ordered: