Marcella Hazan’s Minestrone (Vegetable Soup)

Minestrone Soup

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups peeled, diced potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white beans, if available or 1 1/2 cups canned cannellini beans or Great Northern beans or 3/4 dried white beans, cooked
  • 2 cups diced zucchini ( about 2 medium zucchini)
  • 1 cup diced green beans
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 6 cups Homemade Meat broth or 2 cups canned beef broth mixed with 4 cups water
  • the crust from a 1 or 2 pound piece of Parmesan cheese, carefully scraped clean (optional)
  • 2/3 cups canned Italian tomatoes, with their juice
  • 1/3 cup  freshly grated Parmesan cheese

20141227_204342Choose a stockpot large enough for all the ingredients. Put in the oil, butter and sliced onion and cook over medium-low heat until the onion wilts and is pale gold in color but not browned. Add the diced carrots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once or twice. Repeat the procedure with the celery, potatoes, white beans (if you are using fresh beans), zucchini, and green beans, cooking each one a few minutes and stirring. Then add the shredded cabbage and cook for about 6 minutes giving the pot an occasional stir.

Add the broth, the cheese crust, the tomatoes and their juice, and a little bit of salt. (Go easy on the salt especially if you are using canned broth. You can correct the seasoning later.) Cover and cook at a very slow boil for at least 3 hours. If necessary, you can stop the cooking at any time and resume it later on. Minestrone should never be thin and watery, so cook until it is soupy thick. If you should find that the soup is becoming too thick, you can add another cup of homemade broth or water. Do not add more canned broth.

Fifteen minutes before the soup is done, add the canned or cooked dry beans (if you are not using fresh ones). Just before turning off the heat, remove the cheese crust and swirl in the grated cheese, then taste and correct for salt.

Classic Italian CookbookYield: 6 to 8 servings

From: The Classic Italian Cook Book by Marcella Hazan

Katie: My family decided to take a departure from traditional Christmas meals by having soup and sandwiches. My contribution was this minestrone soup. I’ve always wanted to make it, and I thought a recipe from this cookbook would be most like traditional minestrone soup. It turned out so well! I didn’t think it looked as pretty as some that I have seen in restaurants, but the taste was just phenomenal. Due to the way you cook it, even the cabbage still had some texture. I would definitely make this again anytime I want a delicious vegetable soup. The only drawback is that it does take time to chop all the vegetables, but there aren’t any hard procedures to try to master. So, as long as you have enough time, you’re good to go!

Gray: I though this was great.  As Katie said, the only drawback to the recipe is the time involved.  It is very hearty, more like a stew than a soup, but I would make this again in a heartbeat.  It is straightforward to make, but a little time consuming, and requires a while to cook.  If you had space to have  a second person chopping in the kitchen it might help some, but it is basically, chop-add, chop-add…  If you like minestrone, give this a try.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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3 Responses to Marcella Hazan’s Minestrone (Vegetable Soup)

  1. Marcia says:

    I’ve made this recipe for decades (!) and look up the recipe if I haven’t done it in a while to be sure I haven’t forgotten something or the order to add ingredients. In regards to the time spent chopping, when I was young it took me forever and I often used the food processor. As my knife skills improved, I found that Hazan was right (duh) – while one kind of vegetable is sauteing, it’s just the right amount of time to chop the next kind of vegetable. Now, I only use the food processor if I am doubling or tripling the recipe. Also, in the Classic Italian Cook Book, there is a recipe for leftovers in which you add rice and some pesto. We usually go ahead and add the pesto (about a half batch from Hazan’s recipe) before we have leftovers and have always been happy with it. If you don’t own this cookbook, you should go buy it!

  2. Julie says:

    I’ve made this recipe for 30 years. I don’t change a thing. It’s fabulous. Sure it takes time to make but it’s a great way to spend a snowy or rainy weekend day.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    First time I cooked this, I was skeptical. What? No spices, no garlic? I’ve cooked it a dozen times since then and it is perfect exactly as Marcella intended it to be!

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