Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Minestrone Soup Time

Joni commented that I am a "Soupie", and she's right.  If you are a regular follower of my blog you know that I love soup.  To me, it's the ultimate comfort food and I must admit that I make it often (maybe "too often" for some of my family).  Weekends are a great time to make soup, because there is time to let it simmer and develop the flavors that make good soup...A GREAT SOUP.  I have a huge arsenal of soup recipes, and they have to be quite wonderful to make it into my recipe box.  This Minestrone soup is a crowd pleaser.  It's almost a meal by itself.  You could add meat but I never do.  Bacon fat contributes to the rich flavor and beans add protein; this soup is filling and satisfying even without meat.  If you want to make it totally vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock and leave out the bacon fat.  Add a warm crusty piece of bread and top with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.  It really doesn't get any better than this; the perfect meal for a crisp fall or snowy winter day. 

I made a huge pot of this minestrone...some for us, some to share, and some to freeze for that day
when I need to get a warm meal on the table in a hurry.  I know it's coming and I'm ready.

Country Style Minestrone
Makes about 3 quarts of soup

1 Tab. of olive oil
¼ lb. of bacon, diced (for it's rendered fat)
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 rib of celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 Tab. of minced garlic
½ head Savoy cabbage, sliced (or you can use plain green cabbage)
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
2 C. canned chopped Italian tomatoes
2 C. (one 15-ounce can) of cannellini or great white northern beans
2 C. (one 15-ounce can) of garbanzo beans
4 C. of chicken stock or broth
½ Tab. of salt
½ tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. of dried basil
½ tsp. of dried oregano
½ C. of dry, small pasta, such as ditali, orzo, or elbow
2 C. of water
1 bunch of Swiss chard, cleaned of stems, chopped, or 1 bunch of fresh chopped spinach
6 slices of Italian bread, roasted (optional)
¼ C. of freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

*Cook's Note:  Chop all ingredients ahead of time and place them together in order of addition to the recipes. I often do this the night before.  This is the time consuming part of the recipe, but the soup goes together quickly if you do the prep in advance.

In a large heavy pan, heat the oil.  Add the diced bacon and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until crunchy.  Remove the bacon bits and reserve for another use.  (I don't like to leave the bacon in the pot with the vegetables because it turns "rubbery".  I save it for another use or to garnish the soup at service). To the pan, add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook for1 minute. Add the cabbage, potato, tomatoes, beans, broth, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the pasta and water. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Stir often to make sure the pasta is cooking evenly. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Add the Swiss chard; cook another 2 minutes just until chard is wilted. Serve in large bowls.  Place a thick slice of bread on the bottom of the bowl and top with minestrone and cheese.  Sprinkle the bacon bits on top if you wish.

*This is a thick, hearty soup. It can easily be doubled. I usually make a double batch and freeze half.

This is linked to Presto Pasta Nights and Friday Potluck.


  1. I am a soupie too:) Love it.
    Especially in Autunm!

  2. Wonderful soup! Yours looks very delicious.

  3. Bonnie,what a delicious soup...absolutely perfect for this cold weather...very comforting :-)

  4. I'm totally saving this soup! It looks fantastic, LOVE all the beans!

    Do you want to feature this on Presto Pasta Nights? I am hosting this week, here is the post with the information about it. Thanks!


  5. Lovely blog! I'm also a soup fan and I love your minestrone. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. Hope to see you here often.

  6. I haven't had orzo in Minestrone before. Great idea! I'm hoping to do a soup each week next year. I'll have to try your version. It sounds great.

  7. I love slow cooked soup. Your picture is perfection. I would love it if you would join my Kitchen Reveal on Dec. 1st. I am curious about your kitchen.

  8. Bonnie, that soup looks like the greatest comfort food! I love minestrone! Thanks for sharing with Friday Potluck again this week! :)

  9. Soup is perfect when it is freezing outside. This soup looks delicious.

  10. That looks like a nice comforting soup for today foll of healthy goodness. (feeling a little blah...).

  11. Soupie, LOL. Me too. I have an entire shelf in the upright freezer dedicated to putting up soups for the fall/winter. It's only half full right now, so I'm going to have to add this one to it.

  12. looks yummy! btw, great blog...hmm, i will surely try your recipe, so its not can soup this time! happy weekend! :)