Summer Minestrone


We lived in Milan, Italy, for eight years when my children were young. One of my favorite summer dishes was served at a local restaurant in the city. They made a big pot of minestrone in the morning using a bunch of fresh seasonal vegetables. They thickened the soup with rice and then served it at room temperature with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Every time we dined at that restaurant during the summer, I had to order that soup, it was just so good.

After leaving Milan, I always try and make that soup every summer. Sometimes I’ll add rice, other times a small shaped pasta like ditalini, and sometimes add canned beans. Our garden is flourishing, and I have recently harvested green beans, Tuscan kale, zucchini, and summer squash. I usually start all my soups with a soffritto of chopped onion, garlic, carrots, and celery, and this soup is no exception. Once I get that base started, I chop whatever seasonal vegetables and fresh herbs that I have available and add them to the pot. I then add enough water to cover the vegetables along with a can of tomatoes. Simmer the vegetables until tender. Rice, canned beans, or small pasta can be added during the last twenty minutes of cooking. I try to chop all of the vegetables about the same size to ensure that they cook evenly. For me, this soup is like a multivitamin in a bowl. Not only is this soup delicious, but it is very healthy for you too!

To serve, you can spoon this soup over a slice of grilled, crusty Italian bread, top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, or spoon a dollop of basil pesto on top. I serve this soup barely warm so you can enjoy all the wonderful flavors of the fresh vegetables.

 

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2020

Summer Minestrone

Summer Minestrone

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

A healthy, hearty vegetable soup chock full of summer vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 Cup Chopped Celery
  • 1 Cup Chopped Carrots
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Cup Chopped Zucchini
  • 1 Cup Chopped Summer Squash
  • 1 Cup Green Beans Cut Into 2-inch Pieces
  • 3 Cups Chopped Greens Such As Kale or Swiss Chard
  • 1 (28 Ounce) Can Chopped Tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 1 Cup Chopped Fresh Herbs (Combination of Basil, Parsley, Thyme, & Oregano Work Well)
  • 1 (15 Ounce Can White Beans, Drained) (Or Add 1 Cup Rice or 1 1/2 Cups Ditalini Pasta)

To Serve:

  • Basil Pesto
  • or
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • or
  • Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

Instructions

    1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring often until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
    2. Add the zucchini, summer squash, green beans, and greens and the canned tomatoes.
    3. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the fresh herbs.
    4. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables plus 2-inches.
    5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes.
    6. At this time, add the beans and cook 5 minutes.
    7. Taste soup and adjust seasonings as needed.
    8. Serve with topping of choice.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 283mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 8gSugar: 7gProtein: 9g