Minestrone is, in my humble opinion, kind of perfect food. My family isn't always quite as enthusiastic as I am, neither Dan or Mariam are big soup people. But I do all the cooking, so this soup is one that gets made a lot.
Before I share the recipe, I should add one caveat. I am definitely a "kitchen sink" variety of soup maker. Meaning, I throw in anything and everything that seems like it might work okay. So, this recipe is more conceptual than anything. I'll give you the basic idea; you fill in the blanks. Here goes:
What you will need:
1 medium sized yellow or red onion
3 medium to large carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 parmesan rind*
water or stock
1 cup crushed or finely diced tomatoes
2 cups cooked cannelini beans
1/4 pound pasta (optional)
various vegetables (think green beans, potatoes, parsnips, turnips- whatever you've got handy)
* A parmesan rind is the hard bit left over when you've grated the parmesan down as far as you are able to. I always save them for soup making!
What you will do:
Warm a few tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and sautee until they are brown. Add the garlic and sautee just a bit longer, and then add six cups of water or stock. Add in the tomatoes, the parmesan rind, and any other vegetables that need to cook for a longer period of time (roots especially). When the rind has melted into the soup and the vegetables are cooked through, add the pasta. When the pasta is soft, add in any vegetables that you want to retain their color (green beans, for example) and then add in the cannelini beans. Chop up a few tablespoons of parsley and throw that in just before serving. Season with sea salt as needed, garnish with grated parmesan.