30 January 2010

Mama's Minestrone

So maybe this recipe isn't a Jill Mason original, but when I eat minestrone soup, I think of my mom. Growing up there were a few of my mom's cooking creations I loved most (I'm surely omitting several here): her spinach lasagna, salmon cakes, creamy potato and leek soup, sauteed okra, tofu stir-fry and minestrone soup. Ok, to be completely truthful, I believe Mom more often made a simple vegetable soup, rather than minestrone – but she recently has been making this recipe. And change can be good.

I like enjoying the soup right off the stove, but also love eating it cold out of the fridge the following day(s). I plan to make the soup tomorrow and hope to post some (authentic) photos then... Reading through the recipe makes me think I may adjust the timing/order of when certain veggies are added after preparing it myself... Stay tuned!

Recipe from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food:

(Prepared as the Fall version with Kale & Butternut Squash)

1 cup dried cannellini or borlotti beans (will have to post the how-to later)
This will yield 2 1/2 to 3 cups of cooked beans. Reserve the cooking liquid.
Heat in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 finely chopped celery stalks
Cook for 15 minutes or until tender/rich golden brown. Add:
1 bunch kale, stemmed, washed, and chopped
1 small can of tomatoes (my mom adds more), drained and chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped sage
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
Cook for 5 minutes longer. Add, and bring to a boil:
3 cups water
When boiling, add:
1 small leek, diced
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
Continue cooking until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.
Add the cooked beans, along with:
1 cup bean cooking liquid
Cook for 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more bean cooking liquid. Remove bay leaf.
Serve in bowls, each one garnished with:
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon or more grated Parmesan cheese

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