About this recipe

Minestrone is Italian vegetable soup. People make lots every fall to eat all winter long. Use what broth you need, and then either freeze or refrigerate the rest. P.S. Make sure to chop your vegetables first.


Place your biggest pot on the stove; turn heat to medium and fry:

  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil,
  • 1 large cooking onion (diced).

 When the onion is tender, add:

  • ½ lb. extra-lean ground beef or chopped bacon,
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (minced),
  • 1 tbsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, and ½ tbsp. basil.

 When beef is browned, add the following chopped vegetables:

  • 4 cups cabbage (Savoy or regular),
  • 4 cups Swiss chard,
  • 3 celery stalks,
  • 3 peeled carrots,
  • 2 peeled potatoes,
  • 2 medium zucchini (ends cut off),
  • 2 cups green beans (ends snapped off),
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas.

(You need at least the cabbage or the Swiss chard and four of the other vegetables.)

Then add:

  • 1 (19 oz.) can romano beans (drained and rinsed),
  • a splash of white wine or a little water.

Cook for 15 minutes with the lid on. Then add:

  • 2 (28 oz.) cans plum tomatoes, either blended or hand-squashed,
  • 8 or more cups chicken stock (make sure the vegetables are covered).

Turn up heat to bring to a boil. When boiling, turn heat down, cover, and simmer for around 45 minutes (when the carrots are cooked, it's done). Take what broth you need and either freeze or refrigerate the rest (it will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge).

Cook large soup noodles (e.g., tubetti, shells) or rice in salted water. When they’re three-quarters cooked, put most of the water into a side bowl. Add broth to noodles and let the noodles and broth cook together until the noodles are ready. If the soup looks too thick, add back some reserve water from the side bowl. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.


  • If you add potato, you don’t really need the noodles.
  • Instead of romano, use lima, chick, or cannellini beans.
  • You can also try 1 lb. stewing beef (or skip the meat altogether).
  • There are lots of possible vegetables, but don’t try broccoli or mushrooms.
  • I like to use 4 cups fresh peas, no potato, no canned beans, and then make it with rice.
    You can use less tomato and more chicken stock (e.g., 1 can tomatoes and 12 cups stock), or just use stock with a hint of tomato.

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