In Italian, “minestrone” means “big soup.” Originally a soup based in poverty, made with water plus whatever leftover vegetables, beans and pasta scraps found in the kitchen, minestrone today combines fresh garden vegetables with the “extravagance” of chicken stock, making this a popular soup in Italy. In the fall, pumpkin replaces the traditional use of carrots and cabbage is a hearty, cool weather addition.
Servings: 8 servings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small to medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled, diced into 1/2-inch-thick cubes
2 cups diced pumpkin, 1/2-inch-thick cubes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups canned, low-sodium chicken stock (homemade chicken stock is preferred)
1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 small- to medium-sized zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch-thick half rounds
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 tomatoes, deseeded, diced into 1/2-inch-thick cubes
1/2 cup ditalini, tubetti, or other small-shaped pasta
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. When hot, add the onion and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until the onion has started to turn translucent. Add potatoes, pumpkin, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper, stirring well to combine. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the potatoes and pumpkin just start to color. Add the chicken stock and the beans, stirring well. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the zucchini, cabbage and tomatoes, stirring until combined. Return to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low again and simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir in the pasta and cook, uncovered, for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until the pasta is al dente – tender, but firm to the bite. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.
Serve with a sprinkle of grated cheese as garnish.
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