Minestrone Soup

Supposedly, minestrone soup was Leonardo Da Vinci's favorite food.  I have the sense that Da Vinci was a pragmatic man, so I can see why he would be partial to this soup.  Minestrone is economical to make {the vegetables were grown in his garden}, and contains nutritional ingredients.  

This minestrone recipe was adapted from the book "Da Vinci's Kitchen: A secret history of Italian Cuisine" by Dave Dewitt.  If you recall, back in May I posted a salad dressing recipe from this book.  I still find it fascinating how strongly Da Vinci linked healthy eating with a sound mind.  Although 500 years has past since Leonardo roamed this earth, I think his advice is still prudent.

This soup is easy to make, just chop the vegetables, quickly saute, then let it simmer for 30-60 minutes.  To make my life even easier, I used canned beans instead of dried.  In doing so I saved 2 hours of time by not having to soak and cook the beans.  This recipe uses water as the soup base, but to boost the flavor, I recommend using vegetable stock.  I have a recipe for vegetable stock tucked in with my mushroom risotto recipe (posted on July 23, 2013).  I've used this veggie stock recipe many times and highly recommend it.  It's worth while to plan ahead and make a double batch of stock.  I will place the extra stock in quart sized freezer bags and store in the freezer. 

Enjoy a filling bowl of Minestrone soup tonight.  If you are like Leonardo, it will treat your body and mind.  Here's to good food and gladness!

CLICK HERE for a printer friendly recipe.  Serves 8-10.

Ingredients for Minestrone Soup

  • 9 cups water or stock
  • 1.5 cups white beans, canned
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chipped
  • 6 button mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 basil leaves, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta or rice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions for Minestrone Soup

  1. In a large stock pot, heat the oil and saute the garlic and onions over medium heat until lightly browned.  Add the leek, mushrooms, and zucchini.  Cook for 2 minutes until just slightly tender.
  2. Add the tomato paste, thin with a little water.  Add the remaining ingredients along with the stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30-60 minutes.
  3. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.