"Minestrone was considered exotic when I was a child. It seemed different from standard ‘American’ vegetable soup because of a heavier hand with the seasonings, a bit of olive oil, and slightly more unusual vegetables. Sometimes minestrone contained beans, pasta, or tomatoes, and sometimes it had all or none of these." Click here to read the rest of Mark’s Sunday Dinner story and learn how to win his new book, ‘How to Cook Everything: The Basics’.
Mark Bittman's Minestrone
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil and more for garnish
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 medium celery stalk, chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 bunch kale or escarole, chopped
- 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained
- 1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, heat 1⁄4 cup oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften and darken around the edges.
Add potatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are nicely browned. Add 6 cups water, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pot. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
Add zucchini and kale, raising heat if necessary to keep mixture at a steady bubble. Cook until vegetables are very tender, another 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in beans. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper, if needed. Top with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
For a meal in a bowl, add a pound of sausage or bacon to the pot along with the onion, carrot, and celery. Or stir in one cup of any small pasta and one cup of water about five minutes after adding the kale.
Toss in a handful of fresh chopped basil with the zucchini.
To give this soup even more great flavor, cut the rind from a piece of good Parmesan cheese and add it to the pot along with the water. Or cut the rind into small chunks before adding it.
Serves 6. Per Serving: 280 calories, 33g carbs, 8g protein, 13g fat, 5mg cholesterol, 290mg sodium, 5g fiber