No, my father isn’t Italian – but he is the retired Executive Chef of an Italian restaurant. He’s a bit of a chameleon. He went through a LONG Chinese cooking phase, as well as a Japanese period. Then there was the time he spent months designing Irish soda bread, and the years he spent running a bakery that made Challah. We’ve all been the benefactors of his ability to wear many geographic culinary hats. Take a lesson from my father, put your Italian hat on and make a batch of Minestrone. It will have you singing Opera in no time.
Minestrone Soup (10-12 servings)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 ounces pancetta, minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 medium onions, medium dice
- 2 stalks celery, medium dice
- 2 carrots, medium dice
- 2 potatoes (Yukon or Russet), peeled and diced
- 1 medium zucchini, medium dice
- 2 cups shredded Savoy cabbage
- ¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped plus extra for garnish
- 2-4 inch piece of parmesan or parmesano regianno rind
- 1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (with sauce)
- 2 ounces prepared pesto
- ½ teaspoon black or white ground pepper
- 3 quarts chicken broth
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 14-oz can cannelloni or pinto beans, drained
- 8 oz elbow macaroni
- grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Melt butter and oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Sauté pancetta and red pepper flakes until pancetta is almost crisp. Add onion and shallot and sauté until transparent (approximately 5 minutes). Add garlic, sauté 1-2 minutes. Add white wine, chicken stock, canned tomatoes, carrots, celery, potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, parsley, pesto, optional cheese rind and beans. Simmer for 60-90 minutes.
While the soup is simmering prepare the elbow macaroni according to package directions, less 2 minutes. Add the macaroni to the simmering soup in the final 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with additional chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.