Recipes   /   Minestrone – Vegetable Soup

Minestrone – Vegetable Soup

Sep 30, 2008 by Gabriele Corcos

DIFFICULTY

I personally never used a pressure cooker until the day I met Deb!
My mom used it quite often, but the pot she had always seemed to me very scary and unapproachable; you had to close it with a knob placed on top of the lid, and the valve was to it what a security pin is to a hand grenade. It used to scream whistles, twirl around and shake very fast…no pattern, absolutely random. All of us always expected to see those few ounces of metal pop out of the lid and fly to the moon, right trough the roof of the house.
I was allowed to use any kind of knife, but not that technological embarrassment that our cooker was. So, I never dared, until a few years ago, when Deb taught me how to cook her favorite pea soup, using a definitely better pot.Just a few quick notes:
– Every pressure cooker is different. Different brands usually have slightly different gauges, valves and locking systems; please refer to the “user’s manual”, before you get baptized…literally!
– If you would rather use a regular deep pot just consider that the cooking time will be longer, more than double…
– Be careful not to overcook! Pressure cookers are great because they save a lot of time, but it is also very easy to transform your chopped healthy goods into a sludge…still a healthy sludge I guess…
– About Potatoes. They add a nice “starchy” feel to the soup, and also really help achieving volume but, when frozen and defrosted, their texture becomes grainy (carbs always have a way to mess around with you). So, if you intend to freeze your soup (like we always do), do not use them…if you do, you can still blend the soup after it is defrosted with a mixer… still good.
The ingredients below take into consideration the fact you will be cooking double servings for 4 people, and freeze half of your soup.
Let’s get cookin’!

Serves: 6-8 / Prep time: 25 minutes  / Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • ½ red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 Roma or plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 lb broccoli florets
  • 2  medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup halved green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard, ripped by hand into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch of Tuscan kale (aka black kale, cavolo nero, lacinato), leaves and stems removed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 (1 1/2- ounce) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions, the carrots, and celery sauté for 10 minutes until soft, but not brown.

2Add the hot red pepper flakes, parsley, and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors and break down the tomatoes.

3Add 6 cups of water, season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the cheese rind, the broccoli, green beans, zucchini, potatoes, Swiss chard, kale, and cannellini beans. Stir well.

4Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 50 minutes, until the vegetables have softened and the broth has thickened, or until the potatoes can be broken apart easily with a wooden spoon. Stir occasionally to make sure the vegetables break down and stay submerged in the broth (add 1/2 cup of water if needed to help the cooking process).

5Season with salt and pepper and serve in bowls with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

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