If it's Sunday, it must be Minestrone, as I have started making it every Sunday morning. Kind of the birth of a tradition. I had tried many different minestrone recipes in the past without finding a special one and now I believe I have discovered the definitive one. Its is the most satisfying soup I have ever tried. Total comfort food. So if you're up for a warming and filling bowl of healthy goodness I urge you to try the following recipe. Have a look at my footnote at the bottom of the page too.
3 tablespoons olive oil,
4 ounces pancetta cut into 1/4-inch dice,
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes,
4 medium cloves garlic, thickly sliced,
1 cup diced white onion,
1 cup diced celery,
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary,
1 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh sage,
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley,
2 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil,
2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 dice,
2 cups diced zucchini, cut into1/4 inch dice,
8 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 cup rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans
Grated parmesan cheese and oil olive for garnish
In a large stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil as well as the onion, celery, carrot, and herbs and cook stirring well until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the potatoes and zucchini and toss well with other vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, tomato sauce, stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the rice, cover again and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and simmer for a final 5 minutes. Serve the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of grated parmesan.
Footnote: Here are a couple of shortcuts you might appreciate. Chopping veggies and pancetta for this soup can be tedious and time-consuming, so if you happen to live near a Trader Joe's, (or check your local market) you can pick up already chopped mirepoix (a combination of onion, carrot, and celery) as well as the pancetta already chopped all in the right size. Preparing all of your ingredients in advance and lining them up in a row makes this soup really easy to execute. Leftovers keep well in a lidded container and taste even better the next day.
Bon appétit !