I made this soup last night. It was the best I ever made, if I may say so myself.
A couple things…
Italians don’t use a lot of corn. I put some in this recipe. Why? Because it tastes real good. I like the texture, too. And the color it adds.
Pancetta is Italian bacon. If you are a vegetarian, you can skip the pancetta. But I love the flavor that it adds. When you cook pancetta, treat it like bacon. You don’t put oil in the bottom of a pan when you’re cooking bacon, so don’t add any when you’re cooking pancetta.
Let the pancetta brown on one side. Then give it a stir, and try and get the unbrowned pieces to brown on the other side. If you ain’t got pancetta, use bacon.
I use fresh oregano. It tastes better than dried in this recipe, but you can use dried.
The chick peas and the corn are already cooked. All you need to do is heat them up. So add them last.
You can serve the minestrone as is. Or you can put it over rice or pasta.
If you put it over rice or pasta, I suggest you cook them separately from the soup.
When you let them cook in the minestrone, they absorb too much broth.
I like this soup with pasta; I cook the pasta separate and add it to each bowl before serving.
This recipe yields about 20 cups of soup.
6 ounces of pancetta cut into small pieces
¼ cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
Crushed red pepper
1 cup each–chopped celery, onion, carrots
5 cloves mined garlic (about 2 tablespoons)
2 cups each–Savoy cabbage, green zucchini, yellow squash cut in small pieces
1 twenty-eight ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, smooshed up (about 3 ½ cups)
Fresh chopped oregano, about 1 tablespoon, leaves stripped from the stems
Fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, about 2 tablespoons, chopped, not too fine
1 cup yellow corn (fresh, canned or frozen)
1 sixteen-ounce can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 pound small pasta (ditalini, elbow macaroni, mini farfalle) about 3 or 4 cups cooked
Put a large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta, cook for 4 or 5 minutes without stirring.
Give it a stir, let it brown for 4 or 5 minutes more without stirring.
Turn the heat to medium-low. Add the olive oil, and the crushed red peppers. Let it heat up for a minute.
Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook for 10 minutes. Stir, baby, stir.
Add the green zucchini and the yellow squash. Add a drizzle (1 tablespoon) of olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the Savoy cabbage, add a drizzle (1 tablespoon) of olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, and the broth. Turn the heat to high. Let it come to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
Cook for 10 minutes or so, until the zucchini and squash are semi-soft.
Add the parsley and oregano.
Add the garbanzo beans (chick peas/ceci) and the corn.
Add the grated Romano cheese.
Taste for salt and pepper and adjust
Remove from heat.
For the pasta…
Get a medium-sized pot, fill it with water, put it on the highest heat you got.
When the water comes to a boil, add a couple tablespoons of salt (I use Kosher).
Add your pasta. Cook until firm to the bite.
When the pasta is done, drain, and put in a bowl.
Drizzle with a little olive oil, and stir.
Plate it up! Get a soup bowl, fill it about ¾ of the way with soup.
Add some pasta to the soup.
Top with grated/shaved Romano cheese, if you like, and…